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‘Sadness and disappointment’ as Sweden bow out again in World Cup semis

Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson will try and lift his team for Saturday’s third-place play-off after the “huge disappointment” of yet another Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat.

Olga Carmona’s stunning 89th-minute strike in Auckland gave Spain a 2-1 victory on Tuesday, just 60 seconds after Rebecka Blomqvist had scored for Sweden to cancel out Salma Paralluelo’s opener.

Sweden have now reached the semi-finals in three of the last four World Cups, only to lose every time.

They have suffered a succession of near misses since Gerhardsson, 63, was appointed coach in 2017.

Sweden lost in extra time to the Netherlands in the last four of the 2019 World Cup and were then beaten on penalties by Canada in the final of the Tokyo Olympics.

Last year they reached the semi-finals at the European Championship in England only to go down 4-0 to the hosts.

“It is not something you can simply learn to do better or improve upon,” Gerhardsson said of his team’s wretched record in semi-finals.

“I think everyone just feels sadness and huge disappointment. 

“Today we had the enormous joy and elation of equalising, thinking we could maybe take the game to extra time, and then it turns again.”

Sweden can still leave the tournament in Australia and New Zealand with the bronze medal, just as they did in 2011 and in 2019, when they go to Brisbane on Saturday.

Four years ago they bounced back from losing the semi-final to beat England and finish third.

“On Saturday we will be up against England or Australia and we will be really ready for that game,” Gerhardsson said.

“We can still come third and that is what we will focus on, coach, players and staff alike.

“We will be focused on having the best possible team in the final match because we want to win. If you win the last game you can be happy.”

There will be a brand-new name on the trophy after Sunday’s final with all four previous winners of the World Cup already eliminated.

Gerhardsson hopes Spain emerge victorious.

“I hope that Spain win because I like the kind of football they play. I think they are a very good team.”

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