Saturday, May 25, 2024

Arsenal Women at the World Cup: Gunners Swedish trio experience semi-final heartbreak

Arsenal’s Swedish trio Stina Blackstenius, Amanda Ilestedt and Lina Hurtig experienced semi-final heartbreak in Auckland on Tuesday, as they went down 2-1 to Spain.

Blackstenius and Ilestedt started the match with Lina Hurtig on the bench. Gunners transfer target Laia Codina started for Spain and our understanding is that there is a strong chance she will sign for the club after the conclusion of the tournament. After a tight first half, Spain’s Salma Paralluelo gave the Spaniards the lead on 81 minutes. Lina Hurtig came off the bench and made an immediate impact, providing a good assist for fellow substitute Rebekah Blomqvist to equalise on 88 minutes only for Spain to immediately restore the lead through Olga Carmona.

It means that the Swedes will take part in the Third Place playoff in Brisbane on Saturday at 11am UK time. The second semi-final sees four Gunners go head to head. As Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord’s Australia take on Alessia Russo and Lotte Wubben-Moy’s England in the second semi-final in Sydney on Wednesday. The winner will play Spain in the final on Sunday at 11am UK, the loser will play Sweden in Brisbane on Saturday.

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Fun Gunner

Bad luck, Sweden. They have had some great wins along the way. Well done to Stina Blackstenius, Lina Hurtig and Amanda Ilestedt but they must be so sick of going out in the semifinals. Let’s hope they turn that rage to good use for us next season. Stina surviving on scraps again, perhaps could have done more with her meagre chances, though. Amanda had an excellent game overall. Good assist for Lina. Spain are amazing going forward and on the ball but I feel sure that they will be found out by either England or Australia – hopefully England, but… Read more »

All In

Heartbreaking indeed for us Swedes but Spain were the better team and lack of attention at the last corner proved to be costly. They just doesn’t seem to last all the way and this was likely the last WC for several players.

Sorry if it’s rude but it would be very exciting to see Australia against Spain in the final. What a party it could be for Catley and Foord.


That’s not being rude; It’s an Arsenal blog not an England one. You can support whichever
country you like.
Come on England!

Fun Gunner

I’m torn. It would underline the success of last year for England even to get to the final, let alone win the thing. But Australian women’s football needs that boost more than we do. And although Russo is technically an Arsenal player, it doesn’t feel like it because she hasn’t turned out in the red and white yet. That’s before we even get onto my fave Lotte Wubben-Moy never getting minutes. So I can’t help rooting for Caitlin “Bionic Woman” Foord and Steph Catley.

Fun Gunner

As a Swede, would you agree that Sweden have a fantastic foundation but this generation have lacked a special player or two up front? No shade on Stina B but she isn’t a world class striker. When she is confident, she is very good – hardworking, fast, strong, effective but not prolific and not capable of creating something out of nothing. If Ada Hegerberg or Pernille Harder were Swedish, it might have been a different story. Sweden have pretty much everything else you need – organisation, a strong identity, experience, athleticism, a sprinkling of wily, technical and pacey players. I… Read more »

All In

Interesting point! I have given it a good night of thinking 🙂 The way Sweden play (and Arsenal as well which has been discussed in this forum) requires a different kind of work from the traditional striker role both in the defensive and offensive and I’m not convinced Harder and Hegerberg would be as effective doing that job. Of course the role could be adjusted for players like them but it would have other effects on the balance of the team. Blackstenius has got her limitations in the technical skills, that’s for sure. We had Lotta Schelin some years ago… Read more »

Fun Gunner

Oh, yes I forgot about Lotte Schelin. You are right about Harder and Hegeberg not being the right type for the Swedish style, but what I meant to say is that some countries have a “cheat code” player. A player that can tip the balance in their favour. Technically gifted as Spain are, they have still needed Paralluello to make the difference for them. Just as an example.

All In

I see what you mean. I sometimes think Rolfö should be that player. She’s got the whole package but she is also very loyal to the team both in the club and country and takes a lot of defensive responsibility.

Salvador Berzunza

I don’t put the load only on the players shoulders, Stina scored important goals for arsenal in different scenarios, I reckon there is a lack of creativity on the technical staff, they present the same plan from the beginning to the end. Jonas and Tonny Gustavson present a different Swedish style, Pia and Gerhardsson maybe are the old school Swedish style, I don’t know but I can see that difference.

Fun Gunner

I definitely don’t blame the players, they have been very hardworking consistent and done their jobs. But the team needed a bit more individual brilliance from somewhere.

All In

There’s a huge difference between Sundhage and Gerhardsson. I experienced the style changed from very defensive to a clearly more dominating style when he took over. I don’t think Gerhardsson’s style differs that much from Eidervall actually.

Sundhage’s success with US came at a time when they had the players gathered for months to prepare for the tournaments. Clearly a huge advantage.

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