Officially, the Peter Gerhardsson period began when he first took cost of the Sweden ladies’s nationwide group in autumn 2017, marking his first match with a win over Croatia to get the Blågult’s qualification bid for the 2019 Women’s World Cup off to the good begin. Yet, inheriting a group that was entrenched in the typical Swedish 4-4-2 and taking part in a mode the coach likened to an old style English system, it will take virtually 4 years for the squad to lastly start wanting like the actual (attacking) deal below the 63-year-old.
It was a philosophy that noticed his attacking gamers given freedom to precise themselves and discover their finest instincts in key moments. The concept was to construct on a robust defensive core that might act as a security web and provides a way of safety for their daring attacking play. Gerhardsson was clear in his beliefs, however it took far longer than he deliberate for Sweden to be a group that would embrace an attacking outlook.
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With one, finally, lacklustre match in the bag in 2019, Sweden stepped as much as the plate for the delayed Tokyo Olympics and delivered an attacking masterclass of their opening match in opposition to a shell-shocked United States. The group appeared to be in cruise management via the group stage and into the knockouts once they unceremoniously dumped hosts Japan out of the match. Yet, as an alternative of continuous on their trajectory after the 3-1 win, Sweden started to wobble, wanting unconvincing (however getting the job completed) in opposition to Australia in the semifinal, earlier than the objectives fully abandoned the group by the time of the closing in opposition to Canada.
That downward flip continued via the European Championships the following summer time when the Swedes, who off of the again of their dash to the Olympic closing, had come into the match as favourites, had been humiliated in Sheffield by England.
Even into the World Cup group stage, the Scandinavian powerhouse continued to experience their luck and put in lower than compelling performances.
It took Sweden a late rally in opposition to South Africa to grab victory from the jaws of defeat, earlier than they overwhelmed a crumbling Italy group that did not know the right way to cease the Swedes at set items. Having made wholesale modifications for their third group sport, the Scandinavians breezed via, with important relaxation delivered to key gamers who would go on to hunker down and experience their luck in opposition to the USWNT in the spherical of 16. Some sturdy performances, a slice of luck and a record-setting match from Zećira Musovic noticed the group into the quarterfinals and, for the first time in two years, Sweden regarded like the attack-hungry beast that ended Japan’s hopes at the Olympics, this time eliminating the Nadeshiko from the World Cup.
For all the predictable and unscripted moments of soccer, typically there’s a sense of steadiness and sometimes of time being a flat circle. At the 2021 Olympics, up in opposition to the match darlings, Sweden got here out to play and surprised the hosts, getting the objectives and luck to reward their optimistic play — Japan had been knocked out having performed their finest sport of the match.
Two years later at the World Cup, Japan had been once more knocked out by the Swedes, however this time having performed their worst — which is in no small half on account of the dominance Sweden boasted in midfield, stifling the normally flowing Asian facet. Japan had led Sweden to lose their spark two years in the past, and now taking part in Japan may need given the Blågult their spark again.
In acquainted territory of the latter levels of a match, Sweden enter Tuesday’s semifinal in opposition to Spain having simply dispatched with the previous two World Cup winners and will probably be excessive on confidence in opposition to a group that has by no means reached the final 4 of a significant match earlier than. Furthermore, with the Spanish points off of the pitch over the previous 12 months nicely documented, Sweden appear a world away from their opposition — relaxed and in good humour.
Two years in the past, when Canada’s Julia Grosso delivered her penalty to relegate Sweden to a silver medal on a stiflingly sizzling Tokyo evening, there was a sense that perhaps Gerhardsson’s facet had missed their likelihood, that the Olympics had been the second for Sweden and once more the closing led to defeat.
Yet now, with Sweden having proven a variety of how of successful, driving excessive on success and with luck seemingly on their facet, perhaps this golden technology is not completed simply but?