Sweden entered their quarterfinal match up with Germany sick and tired of hearing about this damn losing streak that has plagued their national team for nearly two-and-a-half decades, but it’s hard to ignore something like that given the history between the two sides. Since 1995, Germany had defeated Sweden in every single major tournament they’ve faced off in before today. This streak featured four major finals, including the 2003 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and a recent loss in the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup.
With all that said, you can now imagine the immediate sense of dread that entered the hearts of Swedish supporters everywhere when Germany’s Lina Magull scored a gorgeous goal off of a half-volley just 15 minutes into the game.
But Sweden did not let this bring them down. As a matter of fact, they seemed to use it as immediate motivation. About five minutes after the Germans had finished celebrating the opening goal of the match, Swedish was able to hit back with a response of their own when Sofia Jakobsson took advantage of a defensive whiff to make a solo run down field and slot her shot just under Almuth Schult’s leg.
Unlike their German opponents, the Swedes were able to compose themselves after they scored to build momentum for the rest of the half. While no goals came out of Sweden’s efforts, it was enough to make Germany quite thankful that the halftime whistle was blown so that they could catch their breaths before the Swedes broke through.
That halftime relaxation helped Germany for less than three minutes into the second half, as an attack from Sweden forced Schult to parry the ball right back onto the feet of Stina Blackstenius, who was able to pop a shot into the back of the net to give her team the lead.
You’d be forgiven in thinking that Germany was the team that had years of heartbreak against Sweden weighing them down, instead of the other way around, with how both teams played for the remainder of the game. Germany had little to no composure in the midfield and were unable to get any scoring chances, save for a couple towards the end. Sweden, on the other hand, remained in total control all the way through the final whistle.
The celebrations over the upset will have to be brief for the Swedes as up next they’ll have to take on the offensive powerhouse that is the Netherlands, and their talented front six, in the tournament semifinals.