Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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England keep Team GB’s Olympic hopes alive; Sweden eliminated through UEFA Women’s Nations League play

England v Netherlands - UEFA Womens Nations League
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Sweden have failed to qualify for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris following a 1-0 loss to Switzerland in Matchday 5 of UEFA Women’s Nation League on Friday. This will mark the first time since women’s soccer was introduced to the Olympics that Sweden will not feature.

The Swedes were nearly joined by England, who bounced back from a 2-0 deficit in the second half to win 3-2 against the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium and stave off elimination. 

Sweden out

The silver medalists from Tokyo 2020 and third-place finisher in the 2023 World Cup conceded a sixth-minute goal to Switzerland winger Ana Maria Crnogorcevic, and the rest was history. The group had multiple opportunities to get the game in their favor, with 24 shot attempts compared to just seven from the Swiss. 

England hang on

England manager Sarina Wiegman and the Lionesses put together a three-goal second half to cling onto a chance of winning their group. The win puts them tied at nine points with Netherlands, though the Dutch have a better goal differential (+4 to +1) heading into the final matchday.

Dutch striker Lineth Beerensteyn delivered a first-half brace to give the Netherlands an early two-goal lead, but the team was unable to stave off the comeback by England. Two assists by Lauren James and goals by Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp, and Ella Toone were the difference makers. 

How UEFA Olympic qualifying works

The Nations League is set up in phases in order to crown an eventual champion of the event, but it also serves as qualifiers for future FIFA Women’s World Cup, Olympic and Women’s Euro tournaments. The top two teams in Nations League (excluding France) will book their tickets to Paris for the Olympics. So this means that should France reach the final, the third-place finisher will get the final berth out of Europe  

What’s next

England have a chance to win their group but are no longer in control of their destiny. They will need a win, make up goal differential, and a loss or draw by the Netherlands to advance and keep the dream of Olympic qualifying. The Lionesses will face Scotland on Tuesday at Hampden Park in Glasgow, while the Netherlands meet Belgium at home in Tilburg.

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