Internationals: Historic point for Swedes
news Mon 17 Jul 2017
Chelsea Ladies Hedvig Lindahl and Magdalena Eriksson helped Sweden kick off their Euro 2017 campaign with a hard-earned draw against reigning champions Germany on Monday night.
Lindahl, beginning her 12th major tournament in goal for the Swedes, kept the five-time winners at bay with a consummate display, which culminated in a match-saving intervention to deny Dzsenifer Marozsan what would have been a worthy winner.
Eriksson, making her first appearance since Chelsea announced her signing at weekend, came on a as a late substitute and defended alongside Lindahl to close out an encouraging draw and ensure Sweden avoided defeat against the Germans for the first time after a dozen competitive meetings.
The Chelsea goalkeeper, who missed out on our WSL Spring Series success due to injury, returned to competition action and was call into action early on in a frantic start to the game. She produced an athletic double-save in the eighth minute, scurrying across goal to prevent Germany from taking an advantage.
Sweden settled into the encounter, however, playing without fear despite their ominous record against the European and Olympic Champions, who triumphed over the Scandinavian side en route to both those successes and are chasing a sixth consecutive Euro crown.
Lindahl had another save to make on 52 minutes, comfortably sliding towards her near post to claim a Marozsan free-kick which bent and dipped from 20 yards.
She worked her magic again in the dying moments as the favourites pressed for victory. Substitute Mandy Islacker connected with a sensational cross from Marozsan, who earned Player of the Match for her influence, but the Chelsea goalie was equal to her efforts.
Meanwhile Eriksson, moving to west London after a couple of glittering campaigns at her native club Linkoping, came in at left-back to see out an encouraging clean sheet.
Sweden will aim to build on their result by reaching their sixth successive European quarter-final after games against Russia on Friday and four days later against Italy.
The tournament continues tomorrow with Blues midfielder Ramona Bachmann likely to play for Switzerland against Austria (kick-off 5pm UK time). On Wednesday night, it will be the turn of England and Scotland, with up to five Chelsea Ladies involved in Utrecht.
By Danny Wittenberg