Sunday, 16 June 2019

FIFA Women's World Cup: Sweden pummel Thailand 5-1 to book last 16 spot

Fridolina Rolfo shoots from range to add Sweden's third goal against Thailand

Sweden booked their passage to the Women's World Cup knockout stages by thrashing a vastly-improved Thailand 5-1.

Having suffered a record 13-0 loss in their opening Group E game against the United States, Thailand were far more competitive and were cheered on by a boisterous section of the 9,354 crowd, the lowest of the tournament so far.

But they could not live with Sweden's superior technique, fitness and height as a team ranked 25 places above them opened the scoring after six minutes via Linda Sembrant's close-range header.

Kosovare Asllani tucked in after neat footwork for the 2016 Olympic Games finalists before Fridolina Rolfo's rocket from the edge of the box made it 3-0 at the break.

After Thailand battled courageously in the second half, there was a further goal for the Swedes when Lina Hurtig headed in.

But Thailand got their deserved reward when captain Kanjana Sung-Ngoen scored their first goal of the tournament after breaking broke clear to fire in and send their small section of fans wild.

There was still time for Sweden to reply after Elin Rubensson smashed home a penalty, which was awarded by the video assistant referee following Natthakarn Chinwong's handball.

Although there were a few errors for the goals, Thai goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing, one of four changes after the humiliation against the US, made several smart saves. One from substitute Madelen Janogy's fiercely-struck shot left Boonsing with a bloody nose.

It was symptomatic of a resilient and energetic display from the Thai side, largely drawn from their homeland and which did not have a domestic league for the whole of 2018.

Appearing at their second World Cup, they could still achieve their aim of reaching the second round should they beat Chile in their final group game on Thursday and potentially claim a spot for one of the best third-placed teams.

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