Just what you wanted: a great view of Kieran Trippier’s tattoo sleeve at the top of the Hoddle.
Ramble of the Day
The World Cup crowned its penultimate loser yesterday, as Sweden marked its first semifinal appearance in eight years with a loss. Perhaps the most unexpected semifinalist of the bunch, Sweden never did become the tournament darlings, or even venture close to that status. Being a historic power in the women’s game probably made them ineligible, but so did an ability to truly kill matches, entertainment-wise. That said, they managed an impressive tournament and can boast being the team behind one of the World Cup’s biggest upsets.
Sweden’s tournament started with a pair of expected wins against Chile and Thailand, the first tougher than the second. This was followed up by a predictable loss to the United States, and an anticipated tie against Canada. It was in the Round of 16 when Sweden fully established itself as the team with the highest combination of aesthetic boringness and highest quality, eventually beating Canada in an unmemorable 1-0 victory.
The Swedes, though, soon managed to entertain as best as they could, outplaying Germany for a spot in the semifinals. Led by Stina Blackstenius’s two goals, Sweden truly exposed Germany’s weaknesses going forward and did a solid job of keeping them at bay in the back minus conceding a first half goal. The sum of Sweden’s parts smartly outmaneuvered a German team favorites for the final, and credit should go where it is due.
This was unfortunately followed up by a semifinal against the Netherlands that had the global audience once again watching a boring Sweden game, but that likely matters little to the team. By the time final time had come in Lyon on Wednesday, though, Sweden proved its effectiveness with a group of talented players — including the likes of Kosovare Asllani and Nilla Fischer — dedicated to a team effort. For them, it was an undoubtedly successful tournament, even if they were a little bit short of the ultimate prize.
tl;dr: Sweden’s out.
Links of the Day
Transfer window updates: Atlético Madrid has signed João Felix from Benfica and Héctor Herrera from Porto; Manchester City has signed Rodri from Atlético Madrid and Angeliño from PSV Eindhoven; Lyon has signed Youssouf Koné from Lille; Benfica has signed Raúl de Tomás from Real Madrid; Atalanta has signed Mario Pasalic on a season-long loan from Chelsea
Today’s longer read: Andrew Keh on French amateur side Les Dégommeueses and the gulf in LGBTQ+ acceptance between the United States and France for The New York Times