Hamilton: Sweden have set up a mouth-watering last-16 meeting with holders USA after beating Argentina 2-0 to top Group G with an unblemished record here on Wednesday.
Peter Gerhardsson made nine changes to his starting XI but his second string still proved too strong for their South American opponents, securing a deserved win through Rebecka Blomqvist’s header and a late Elin Rubensson penalty.
This wasn’t a classic FIFA Women’s World Cup encounter by any means, but the Swedes produced the game’s few moments of genuine quality, with the lively Madelen Janogy particularly dangerous.
Olivia Schough was among the other Swedes to be given her chance to impress, and she enjoyed the best two chances of a forgettable first half, curling a free-kick into the keeper’s arms before heading wastefully wide at the end of a flowing team move.
Sofia Jakobsson was among the more familiar faces introduced to Gerhardsson’s line-up and, despite a frustrating match overall, a flash of her well-established qualities set up Sweden’s opener. The veteran winger skipped away from her marker, delivered an inch-perfect cross and Blomqvist, timing her run to perfection, bulleted the ball home.
Blomqvist was also heavily involved when the lead was doubled as the clock ticked down, earning the penalty from which Rubensson struck one of the most precise spot-kicks seen at these finals.
Sweden duly finished top of their section, and emerged with a perfect group-stage record, for just the second time at a Women’s World Cup. They will now look forward to a meeting with a US side they destroyed 3-0 when the teams last met in a competitive match at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.