TEARS FOR FIRST VICTIMS

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Italy

Players in tears following elimination

As the final whistle in the second match of yesterday’s round of matches was blown, the tears started to flow. Last night saw the four Group B teams in the Women’s EURO 2017 in action. Sweden met Russia in the earlier match. This was followed by tournament favourites Germany taking on Italy.

 

Sweden go top of Group B

In the first match of the evening, Sweden beat Russia to go top of group B on goal difference. Following their goalless draw against defending champions Germany, the Swedes kicked-off against a Russian team that was in high spirits. Russia had surprisingly beaten Italy in their first match, and a win would see them reach a historic qualification.

Veteran Lotta Schelin put in a Player of the Match performance in a match that was for the great part dominated by Sweden. The Blågult enjoyed 63% of possession. And were it not for a string of wasted chances, they could have won by a much wider margin. Sweden had a total of 23 attempts at goal, with only 5 shots on target.

Sweden were dangerous straight out of the gates. In the first 2 minutes of the game, 19-year-old goalkeeper Tatyana Shcherbak gathered a cross coming in from the right ahead of Olivia Schough. Following a stellar performance against Italy, yesterday Shcherbak proved her quality once again. With performances like this, it won’t be long before teams come knocking at her door.

On the 6 minute mark, Schough chested the ball down, and volleyed towards goal. Shcherbak was on hand to make a good save, turn the ball around the post. Four minutes later, Manchester City’s Kosovare Asllani hit the ball from far, but her effort hit the woodwork. Russia refused to stand down, but their pluckiness only led to Sweden finding more pockets to attack.

Sweden draw first blood

It took a total of 22 minutes for Sweden to draw first blood. Magdalena Eriksson’s long free-kick beat Shcherbak, leaving Schelin with the simplest of tasks. The 33-year-old headed into an empty net to score her 87th international goal.

Russia had to wait until the 34th minute for their first real chance. Stopper Hedvig Lindahl blocked Margarita Chernomyrdina’s attempt at goal. 2 minutes later, and Lindahl made another save, this time following an Elena Danilova effort. Sweden once again pushed forward, however, at half time, the result remained 1-0.

As the 2nd half kicked-off, Sweden needed just six minutes to double their tally. Montpeiller forward Stina Blackstenius was the scorer. Following a poor Russia goal-kick, Blackstenius collected the ball, bursting forward. Her attempt at goal deflected off of Anna Kozhnikova for the goal.

The goal killed off the Russian’s spirits. Sweden continued to push forward, forcing into more saves, and missing more opportunities. On 73 minutes, Blackstenius was forced off with a head injury suffered in the 67th minute. It is not yet known if the scorer of the second goal of the match will be available for their final group game against Italy.

Following two minutes of injury time, the final whistle blew. Sweden won the match to top Group B. The Swedish supporters applauded in pride. Whilst the Russians were not yet in tears, this result means that they now have to beat Germany to qualify for the knockout stages.

 

Sweden vs Russia line-ups

Sweden (4-4-2): Hedvig Lindahl, Magdalena Ericsson, Linda Sembrant, Nilla Fischer, Lisa Dahlkvist (63’ Hanna Folkesson), Lotta Schelin, Kosovare Asllani, Jessica Samuelsson, Caroline Seger, Stina Blackstenius (73’ Pauline Hammarlund), Olivia Schough (46’ Fridolina Rolfö)

Russia (4-1-4-1): Tatyana Shcherbak, Natalya Solodkaya, Anna Kozhnikova, Daria Makarenko, Anna Cholovyaga, Nadezhda Smirnova, Ekaterina Sochneva (81’ Marina Kiskonen), Elena Danilova (72’ Nadezhda Karpova), Elvira Ziyastinova, Margarita Chernomyrdina (66’ Marina Fedorova), Elena Morozova

 

Tears for Italy

By stark contrast, the Italian players were in tears following their defeat to Germany. Having already surprisingly lost to Russia, the Italians knew that a defeat meant that they were out. Their opponents were none other than Germany, who have been champions since 2005.

Germany went ahead after just 19 minutes following a Laura Giuliani howler. The 24-year-old Italian keeper, who plies her trade in Germany with Freiburg, fumbled the ball. Josephine Henning was left with the simplest of headers, finishing into an open net. 1-0 for Germany as Italian hearts sunk.

Ten minutes later, and Italy equalised through Ilaria Mauro. Barbara Bonansea drove in a cross from the left, and Mauro finished of at the near-post. 1-1 and a lifeline for Italy!

On 67 minutes, Germany went ahead yet again. Giuliani was once again under the spotlight. She brought down Anja Mittag, and the referee awarded a penalty. Babett Peter sent the Italian stopper the wrong way to score and restore the Germans’ lead.

In the 69th minute, Italy were reduced to ten players. Elisa Bartoli brought down Mittag. She received her second booking of the match, and the distraught Italian defender was off for an early bath.

As the final whistle blew in the 94th minute, the Italian tears started to flow. Italy are now out of the EUROs, with only pride left to play for in their final match against Sweden. Germany join Sweden at the top of Group B. Both teams are on four points, but the Swedes are ahead on goal difference. The Germans now need a point against their next opponents to qualify for the final stages.

 

Germany vs Italy line-ups

Germany (4-1-3-2): Almuth Schult, Josephine Henning (46’ Kathrin-Julia Henrich), Babett Peter, Kristin Demann, Leonie Maier, Dzsenifer Marozsán, Anja Mittag, Sara Däbritz, Mandy Islacker (79’ Lina Petermann), Linda Dallmann (88’ Lena Petermann), Isabel Kerschowski.

Italy (4-4-2): Laura Giuliani, Cecilia Salvai, Valentina Cernoia (73’ Linda Tucceri Cimini), Daniela Stracchi, Elena Linari, Alia Guagni, Melania Gabbiadini (84’ Daniela Sabatino), Ilaria Mauro (45’+2 Cristiana Girelli), Elisa Bartoli, Barbara Bonansea, Marta Carissimi

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