Soccer / Women's World Cup

Sweden ends German curse to clinch berth in semifinals

AP

With Germany out of the way, Sweden believes it could win it all.

Stina Blackstenius scored the go-ahead goal just minutes into the second half and Sweden surprised Germany with a 2-1 quarterfinal victory Saturday night at the Women’s World Cup.

It was Sweden’s first victory over Germany in a major tournament in 24 years, and it sent the ninth-ranked Swedes into the semifinals against the Netherlands.

“We’re going to go for it,” Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson said.

The second-ranked Germans, who won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007, were the presumptive favorites on their side of the bracket. Instead, they’ll head home.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said her team seemed to lose focus.

“We knew it was going to be difficult,” she said. “We shall not let this bring us down. We have to make sure this process goes on despite the defeat, to keep on growing, to gain strength and channel this negative experience into something positive and to learn our lessons from it.”

The eighth-ranked Dutch defeated Italy 2-0 earlier Saturday, setting up the semifinal Wednesday in Lyon. The United States plays England in the other semifinal on Tuesday. The final is July 7.

Sweden’s victory came in a rematch of the 2003 World Cup final which Germany won 2-0 in Shanghai. The teams also met in the final at the 2016 Olympics, with Germany winning its first gold medal with a 2-1 victory.

Sweden’s last win over Germany in a major tournament was in the group stage of the 1995 World Cup.

“We knew we had a chance, and then of course we had to play our best game of the tournament to be able to beat Germany,” Gerhardsson said. “So I’m not surprised, but I knew we had to play and perform at our best on the offense and the defense. And I think we did.”

With the win, Sweden also secured a spot in the 2020 Olympics, along with the Netherlands and Great Britain.