FIFA Women´s World Cup – The battle for third place

by Lorraine Williamson
third place Sweden

FOOTBALL – The battle for third place in the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup took place this morning as Sweden took on hosts, Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane Australia.

This was the fourth time Sweden had featured in the third place playoffs. Whereas, for the Australian side, it was their best ever result to have reached this stage in World Cup competition.

In the semi-finals, Sweden and Spain fought it out in a close match with incredible goals coming from both sides in the final minutes. However, Spain had the edge, and won 2-1. Australia lost out to England who won 3-1 to claim their place in the final against Spain tomorrow. The Spain v England match is at 12 noon (Spanish time) tomorrow (Sunday).

Sweden v Australia

Sweden stepped out strong with a chance at goal in the first minute. But Arnold pushed it away. The first 10 minutes or so were all Sweden, but Australia started to push back and were defending well. They also had a couple of chances at goal around the 20-minute mark, but both were handled by Musovic.

Then a few minutes later, Blackstenius went down, but the referee waved play on despite protests for a penalty from the Swedish side. The game continued and saw Rolfo header the ball which narrowly missed as it bounced off the bar. The referee was then alerted by VAR after they reviewed the incident between Blackstenius and Polkinghorne and ultimately awarded the penalty to Sweden.


At this point in the game, the Matildas appeared to have a slight edge. However, that all changed when Rolfo stepped up to take the penalty, and scored. Thirty minutes in, and it was 1-0 to Sweden.

The equaliser almost came just before half time when Sweden failed to clear their lines after a corner which allowed Raso to take advantage. However, Musovic managed to block her shot. Then almost immediately, Sweden had a chance as Polkinghorne made a passback to Arnold, which was intercepted by Blackstenius. But she couldn´t keep it in play.

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First-half stoppage time

In the 8 minutes that were added for stoppage time, both teams had good attempts at goal. The first came for Sweden as Asllani sent a free kick towards the far post to Angeldal who was on target, but Arnold got a glove to it. Next, Angeldal sent a through ball just ahead of Blackstenius who hit the side of the net. Once again, sloppy clearance from the Swedish side allowed Kerr to fire a shot at goal, but it was saved by Musovic. The first half finished with Sweden having the advantage.

Second half

It was Australia that started the second half strong, but it didn´t take long for Sweden to find their rhythm. Australia had some chances from set pieces, but they failed to connect. Then around the hour mark, Australia made a couple of substitutions. Immediately after, Sweden made a counterattack with Asllani taking the ball through the middle before sliding it to Blackstenius. Hunt forced Blackstenius wide, so she passed the ball back to Asllani who took her shot from just outside the box. Arnold couldn´t hold it, and Sweden were two goals up with just under 30 minutes of normal time left to play.

Blackstenius and Asllani were working well together as Blackstenius had another attempt at goal, but the offside flag was up. It was then time for Sweden to make some changes as the substituted the pair and brought on Hurtig and Blomqvist. Hurtig got in on the action immediately as she ran down the left wing and moved into the box before getting a shot at goal.

With 20 minutes to go, Australia had another chance, once again due to sloppy clearing. Kerr sent the ball to Pilkinghorne who got the shot, but it was blocked by Musovic. A few minutes later, Australia make a double substitution. Off came Pilkinghorne and Carpenter.

Both sides were tired now as the clock moved forward and 6 minutes of stoppage time was added.

Stoppage time

Australia had a lot to do in just 6 minutes to try and push towards extra time, but they kept pushing. But try as they did, the goals just didn´t come. The match ended 2-0 for Sweden meaning they had secured third place of the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup.

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