The Swedish Women’s National Team begins their journey in the 2019 Women’s World Cup against a frisky Chile team looking to pull off an upset. Sweden will be looking to live up to their ninth place world ranking, but after being drawn into a group with reigning world champions the United States, the women will have their work cut out for them when it comes to topping Group F, as reported by CBS Sports.
Sweden topped their qualification group to make it into the tournament, but with the help of a forfeit by Denmark due to compensation issues. Despite being awarded a 3-0 victory, it came down to a final match against the Danes to secure qualification, and the Swedes have found themselves lacking in front of the goal. Striker Stina Blackstenius has been returning to form since returning to club football in Sweden, hopefully alleviating manager Peter Gerhardsson’s concerns. Kosovare Asllani will be the key for the team’s attack, as the talismanic attacking midfielder stands out as one of the most technically creative players in world football. If Sweden plans to challenge the United States in the group and make some noise in the knockout stages, Asllani will be the reason. She has the capability to take over a match, and this Swedish team may need exactly that.
The Chilean women enter their first Women’s World Cup playing a defined possession-based style of soccer, usually employing a 4-3-3 formation. While obviously entering the tournament as inexperienced underdogs, manager José Letelier has given the team a sense of fearlessness, and it is unlikely that they will sink into their shell no matter the opposition. The squad is anchored by PSG goalkeeper Christiane Endler. Endler was just named the best goalkeeper in the French league and has a reputation as one of the best in the world, as well as one of the players who opened the doors for her fellow Chilean teammates to garner attention from European clubs. Her reflexes are second-to-none, and she has a penalty stopping ability that could be the reason Chile pulls off an upset in the tournament.
Sweden has the pedigree over Chile, and they are the clear favorites in the opening match. Still, in what is likely to be an entertaining matchup, Sweden’s attack will have to prove they are up to the challenge of the bigger teams they will go on to face while Chile will remain a threat on the counter.
Date: Tuesday, June 11
Time: 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET
Venue: Stade de la Route de Lorient, Rennes, France
TV Info: Fox Sports 1 (U.S.), BBC Red Button (UK)