Kosovare Asllani’s stunning second-half strike sealed victory for Sweden as they beat Australia to finish third at the Women’s World Cup.
She rifled in a shot from the edge of the area to add to Fridolina Rolfo’s first-half penalty as Sweden won the bronze medal match for the second World Cup in succession.
Despite the defeat, this represents co-hosts Australia’s best ever World Cup finish but the Matildas were unable to end on a high.
Rolfo’s penalty gave Peter Gerhardsson’s side the lead after a video assistant referee (VAR) check confirmed that Claire Hunt had clipped Stina Blackstenius in the box after 26 minutes.
And on the hour mark, Blackstenius played a superb square ball to Asllani, who stroked in a first-time shot to double their lead.
Australia capture the nations’ imagination
The Matildas’ achievement in finishing fourth cannot be understated in a country where football is not the number one sport.
Their 3-1 semi-final defeat by England was the most watched TV event in Australian history with 11.15 million viewers tuning in.
But they seemed deflated on Saturday and put in a tired performance, with even their talisman Sam Kerr struggling to make an impact on the game – in fact, she had the fewest touches of any player on the pitch in the first half.
Their best chances fell to Hayley Raso and Clare Polkinhorne, but they were both denied by Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic.
Australia, who had only ever reached the quarter-finals once previously, in 2015, were the first hosts to reach the semi-finals since United States in 2003.
Their efforts in this tournament have certainly captured the hearts of the fans in green and gold and the hope will be that that leaves a lasting legacy.