Sweden are looking to break their curse. Marie Schulte-Bockum explores each team's chances...
After her team’s round of 16 victory against Canada, Sweden defender Magdalena Eriksson told reporters earnestly, “We are sick of hearing about this damn Germany curse”.
What did the Chelsea Ladies player mean? Well, Sweden have not won against die Frauennationalmannschaft since the group stages of the 1995 World Cup in Sweden. 23-year-old forward Stina Blackstenius, one of Sweden’s most promising stars today, wasn’t even born yet.
Germany have not played their best but the results are there
The opportunity for Sweden to shake the “curse” is definitely there. Germany’s playing style at the World Cup has been quite bland, although the results tell a story of steady improvement: 1-0 in the opening match against China, 1-0 against Spain, 4-0 against South Africa and 3-0 in the Round of 16 against Nigeria.
Germany’s biggest hope is Dzsenifer Marozsan, perhaps the best playmaker in the world. The Lyon midfielder has returned to the starting lineup in time for the knockout stages after breaking her toe in the opening match.
The key to victory stands between the goalposts
Sweden’s key to winning against Germany on this occasion may be their goalkeeper. 36-year-old Hedvig Lindahl is in wonderful form and ensured her side’s passage into the quarter-final when she saved a penalty against Canada.
On the other side, Germany’s Almuth Schult is the only keeper of the tournament yet to concede. Sweden’s experienced and gifted attacking players Sofia Jakobssen and Kosovare Asslani will be very motivated to tarnish Schult’s spotless defensive record.