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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: Sweden beats Australia to win another bronze medal

Sweden won yet another bronze medal at the Women’s World Cup, with Fridolina Rolfo and Kosovare Asllani scoring on Saturday in a clinical 2-0 win over tournament co-host Australia.

The Swedish women proved once again they’re tough to beat after a semifinal loss, extending their perfect record in World Cup third-place matches to four with the victory in Brisbane.

It was a disappointing finish for the Matildas, who captivated the host nation during a run to the semifinals for the first time.

The tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand has set attendance records, had packed fan zones, and two of Australia’s matches became the most-watched programs on domestic commercial TV in 20 years.

Ultimately, it ended with back-to-back losses to the No. 3- and No. 4-ranked teams in the world even with star striker Sam Kerr back in the starting lineup.

Rolfo converted from the penalty spot with a low, curling left-foot shot in the 30th minute after Australian defender Clare Hunt was penalized after a VAR review after tripping up Stina Blackstenius.

Asllani’s well-timed strike to finish off a long-range Swedish counterattack in the 62nd sealed the win.

European champion England and Spain are meeting in the final in Sydney on Sunday.

Sweden was dominant for most of the match, staying compact and organized.

Goalkeeper Zecira Musovic kept another clean sheet, blocking Kerr’s angled right-foot strike in first-half stoppage time and again stopping Clare Polkinghorne’s shot from right in front in the 70th.

Kerr missed the entire group stage after injuring her left calf muscle on the eve of the tournament. She started on Saturday in an unchanged Australian lineup following Wednesday’s 3-1 semifinal loss to England.

Kerr injured her right leg in a tackle in the 75th minute and limped off the field for some quick treatment but returned to continue playing.

A 2-1 loss to Spain in Auckland sent Sweden into familiar territory. The Swedes, runners-up in 2003, beat Germany in 1991, France in 2011 and England four years ago in their previous bronze-medal matches.

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