Sweden thrash Italy to storm into Women's World Cup last 16

Amanda Ilestedt scores twice in 5-0 victory on Saturday

Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt, second from right, celebrates with Magdalena Eriksson after scoring her side's fourth goal againstg Italy in their Women's World Cup match in Wellington. AP
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Amanda Ilestedt scored twice to help Sweden to a 5-0 thrashing of Italy on Saturday and a berth in the Women's World Cup last 16.

Ilestedt was Sweden's first scorer in the 39th, and her glancing header from a corner sparked a flood of four Swedish goals in 11 minutes on either side of halftime. Her second goal came in the 50th and was a mirror image of the first.

Rebecka Blomqvist finished it off in stoppage time with Sweden's fifth goal.

A tight contest was blown open in a seven-minute spell late in the first half when the third-ranked Swedes found the net three times, through Ilestedt, Fridolina Rolfo and Stina Blackstenius.

Arsenal centre-back Ilestedt bagged her second soon after the interval to give her three goals for the tournament - all headers from corners - including a late match-winner in their opening 2-1 defeat of South Africa.

Substitute Blomqvist rounded out the rout in stoppage time in front of nearly 30,000 in Wellington.

The Swedes are assured of finishing in the top two of Group G, becoming the third team to book a place in the knockout stage after Spain and Japan.

"I’m impressed – it’s not the first time I’m impressed by these players by the way," Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson told reporters. "It’s ingrained in their mentality somewhere to just keep going."

Italy dominated possession early on but could not deal with the Swedish aerial threat at corners and the 2003 runners-up handed them their worst defeat in a World Cup match.

Meanwhile, Colombia's teenaged striker Linda Caicedo was declared healthy two days after she collapsed in training, coach Nelson Abadia said on Saturday.

Caicedo, who is expected to play on Sunday when Las Cafeteras face Germany at Sydney Football Stadium, slowed to a stop during training on Thursday, then put a hand to her chest and laid down on the pitch as teammates and medical staff rushed to her aid.

"It's just an incident, she was tired," Abadia said. "She was a bit stressed as well, because she was playing in her first World Cup. And she's 18 years of age. She's a girl as far as football goes. But she has a great capacity and great character to assimilate all of this.

"That is why she's one of the players in the world today who is a rising star. And it was just an episode, it's finished, it's over. We're quite happy about this. No problem."

Updated: July 29, 2023, 10:55 AM