It was a cautious, composed start from The Matildas. Steph Catley has been one of Australia’s most dangerous attacking outlets during the tournament, but she began as part of a deep back three.
Fridolina Rolfo almost opened the scoring with a left-foot missile from a central area. Fortunately for The Matildas, the strike crashed off the woodwork and scores stayed level.
Sam Kerr almost found an opening when she latched onto a long ball and rounded the keeper on the wing. The chance was cut off by the Swedish defenders and the ball was eventually cleared as she cut it back.
When Kyah Simon was clipped while turning cleverly, Kennedy lined up to take the free-kick. It curled on target but was saved.
As the first half ended, Sam Kerr had a goal disallowed for the slightest infraction by van Egmond and then had a header skim the post soon after. Tameka Yallop was next to try from range but her shot flew over.
Sweden took a lucky lead when Angeldal tried a shot from outside of the box. It deflected off Logarzo and although Micah got a hand to it, Rolfo was on hand to open the scoring.
Australia responded positively, Kerr and Yallop both forced saves from the keeper with good efforts but the shots were straight at Lindahl.
Steph Catley was next to test Lindahl, her shot was on target but well saved from close range. Substitute Mary Fowler was able to turn and shoot but sent the strike wide.
The Matildas attacked throughout and knocked on the door, but had neither the luck or the polish to get that elusive goal.
MATILDAS MOSTLY RIGHT
Gustavsson had tested and practiced the back three of Catley, Carpenter, and Kennedy in the friendly in June and it worked here. Australia denied Jakobsson the space she enjoyed in the group stage loss and was mostly unbothered in defense.
Australia only lost to a quirk of physics. The ball spun and bounced in a way a football rarely does for Rolfo’s goal. they barely put a foot wrong, but you need every step to go right at the semi-final level.
IT’S NOT OVER
Australia has one more game left. they have been brave and often spectacular but appeared exhausted by the end of this match. The 120 minute epic against Team GB and the oppressive heat obviously took its toll but a medal chance still remains.
The question now is one of selection and priorities. Do these players push through one more time in a third-place play-off or do they bring on the youngsters and reserve players?
This team desperately wants an Olympic medal, they have earned the right to contest for one. After a game every two days how much more is humanly possible?
Australia: 18 Teagan Micah, 7 Steph Catley, 14 Alanna Kennedy, 12 Ellie Carpenter, 6 Chloe Logarzo (3 Kyra Cooney-Cross 69m), 13 Tameka Yallop (4 Clare Polkinghorne 69m), 10 Emily van Egmond, 16 Hayley Raso (15 Emily Gielnik 84m), 9 Caitlin Foord, 17 Kyah Simon (11 Mary Fowler 69m), 2 Sam Kerr.
Sweden: 1 Hevig Lindahl, 14 Nathalie Bjorn, 13 Amanda Ilestedt, 4 Hanna Glas, 6 Magdalena Eriksson, 16 Filippa Angeldal (5 Hanna Bennison 74m), 17 Caroline Seger, 18 Fridolina Rolfo, 9 Kosovare Asllani, 10 Sofia Jakobsson, 11 Stin Blackstenius.
Red Cards: Ellie Carpenter (Aus)