Hanna Bennison comes off the bench for Sweden’s key win over Switzerland | Women’s Euro 2022

Sweden took a vital step towards maintaining their 100 per cent record of reaching the Euro knockout stages with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Switzerland in balmy conditions at Bramall Lane.

Goals from Fridolina Rolfö and a late winner from substitute Hanna Bennison ensured that it was Peter Gerhardsson’s side who edged closer to the quarter-finals, against a side that fought until at the end and had suffered from a stomach ache earlier in the week. .

The result was cruel for the Swiss who had two valid penalty cries within a minute of each other just before Bennison struck – but received neither. Now they need a good result against the Netherlands to be able to reach the quarter-finals.

For the Swiss, the chance to capitalize came in the eighth minute when Magda Eriksson was judged for beating Noelle Maritz in her own penalty area.

After further consideration, referee Marta Huerta de Aza reversed her decision. It wouldn’t be his last controversial call from the half; another eight minutes later and this time it was Sweden’s No.9 Kosovare Asllani claiming that a stray hand had removed the sting from her shot on goal.

The Blagult didn’t let the chaotic start derail their attack. Instead, they passed through Stina Blackstenius. She had the first real chance of the game in the 20th minute with a spirited, low shot on goal. His teammates took it as a call to action and quickly mounted their own individual charges.

Rolfö seemed to take it particularly personally on the Swiss left flank. The Swede rounded her marker, Maritz, with ease, linking galloping races towards the line with inviting crosses.

On more than one occasion, this pattern of play almost led to a goal for Sweden. If there was even a glimmer of hope, it came from Ramona Bachmann. On the rare occasions the Swiss stepped outside the confines of their own half, it was their quick thinking that led to moments of promise.

On the half hour mark, she nearly punished a sloppy back pass among the Swedish defenders, producing a fine save from Hedvig Lindahl. Although Bachmann was unable to punish the error, it gave her team some much-needed fervor in the face of a relentless Swedish attack.

On the other side of the half, Gerhardsson’s side turned up the heat, probing the four Swiss defenders and eventually scoring the game’s first goal. It was Rolfö again, routinely darting away from Maritz, sliding the ball into the bottom corner – all while the grass was still drying out from the action of the sprinklers in the mid- time.

Cue the drama. Two minutes after the restart, the Swiss equalized thanks to Bachmann. A majestically curled effort from the edge of the box managed to elude the Swedish defenders and the scores were level again.

Thanks to Bachmann’s goal, Switzerland started to attack more centrally and for a while it paid off. But for a team that had spent the week battling a fast-spreading gastrointestinal illness, they seemed far too willing to dive into stomach-turning moments in their own defensive half – like allowing possession to pass so that Bennison can whip. an electric shot from the edge of the area to make it 2-1 in the 80th minute.

The whole movement towards the goal perfectly embodied the Swiss collective performance. Encouraging at times, but blindsided defensively by a superior Swedish attack.

About Roberto Frank

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