Sweden and Canada face off in their Round of 16 matchup in a game that should see both sides evenly matched with an appearance against Germany in the quarterfinals on the line, as reported by Bleacher Report. Both teams finished second in their respective groups, with two victories and one loss apiece, although those losses came under very different circumstances. While Canada made some costly errors in a hard-fought loss to the Netherlands that secured their reputation as a difficult out in the tournament, Sweden was embarrassed by the United States, with a two-goal loss not telling the entire story against an American team that was dealing with injuries.
While that defeat showed a clear gulf between the very-good Sweden team and the teams they aspire to, it was a relatively meaningless game and allows for manager Peter Gerhardsson to reflect on his squad and retool where he can as they prepare for a difficult but winnable draw in the knockout stage. One of the more surprising flaws that were exposed was Sweden’s defense, an aspect of the team that was considered one of their strengths before the tournament kicked off.
However, Canada’s attack doesn’t compare to the United States and Sweden will be looking to be more creative in their attack. The team has become over-reliant on chasing goals down the wing, but this matchup provides the opportunity to play through the middle with high possession and sharp, quick passes required to break down the Canadian defense.
While it’s unlikely that Canada will end this tournament with the World Cup, they have shown tremendous heart in their Group E matches with a top-level defense and enough skill in attack to give Sweden major issues. While their loss to the Netherlands was disappointing, it did provide them with some very clear and correctable flashpoints and they should be improved as they enter this matchup.
With veteran striker Christine Sinclair leading the attacking line, Canada always possesses a scoring threat and Sweden’s 36-year-old goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl will definitely be tested. Sinclair got her first goal of the tournament in their loss to the Netherlands and will be looking to build on it in more positive results. She will be assisted by attacking midfielder Jessie Fleming as the 21-year-old continues her string of impressive performances in the tournament.
Date: Monday, June 24
Time: 9 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET
TV Info: BBC Red Button, Fox