By LUKE VARGAS Associated Press
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — Rebecka Blomqvist’s second-half goal lifted Sweden to a 2-0 win over Argentina on Wednesday to advance the Blagult to a round-of-16 showdown with the United States in the Women’s World Cup.
Argentina was eliminated from the tournament.
Neither side looked close to scoring for much of the match until Blomqvist broke the deadlock with a headed goal at the 66th-minute mark to help the blue and yellow finish 3-0 and win Group G.
Sweden, which rested nine starters to open the match, threatened at times in the first half. A combination of disjointed play and fouls prevented Sweden from taking early control of the game.
Playing at times in a pelting rain, Argentina did not create a real chance in open play, and suffered a blow when veteran Florencia Bonsegundo was stretchered off in tears after a late tackle by Blomqvist in the 41st minute.
Late in the match, Gabriela Chavez committed a foul while defending a corner kick. Elin Rubensson converted the penalty kick in stoppage time to seal the victory for Sweden.
Swedish captain Caroline Seeger made her 20th Women’s World Cup appearance Wednesday to equal Hedvig Lindahl’s tournament record for Sweden.
Over 17,900 spectators packed Waikato Stadium, which holds just 18,009. The crowd was full of Argentina supporters who sang and chanted for all 90 minutes, plus stoppage time, on a brisk night in Hamilton.
Stout defense was on full display for over an hour, but Blomqvist managed to push the blue and yellow over the line against Argentina.
Sofia Jakobsson picked out the head of Blomqvist perfectly on a cross from just outside the 18-yard box for the decisive goal.
WHY IT MATTERS
The clash between the United States, the two-time reigning World Cup champions, and third-ranked Sweden will be their seventh meeting and tie the record for the most-played matchup in Women’s World Cup history.
Argentina’s run ended in the group stage just as it had in its three previous appearances, in 2019, 2007 and 2003. La Albiceleste are still without a tournament win.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“We’re proud of the players, they gave it their all. We can sleep at ease. Of course we’re sad, that’s football. But our heads are very high, and we’ll continue down this pathway,” said Argentina coach German Portanova on the loss and his team’s tournament run.
“We had good patience today. We felt that of course we want to score goals and we want to create chances. I think we also felt that the chances will come, and when they came, we have to be ready and not be frustrated,” said Blomqvist.
Sweden travels to Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday for the U.S. match.
Argentina is knocked out of the Women’s World Cup.