Preview: Matildas v Sweden
Expect exciting, technical football from the Australians and quality and experience from the Swedes, coached by the legendary Pia Sundhage. What a cracker this match promises to be.
The fifth-ranked Swedes are unbeaten so far in the tournament – with draws against Nigeria and USA putting them on two points – but will need a positive result in this one to advance past the group stage.
The Aussies are currently second in the group on three points – one behind the USA – courtesy of the Aussies' 2-0 win over Nigeria on Saturday.
Alen Stajcic’s side needs only a draw to secure automatic progression to the last 16, should the USA not lose to the African champions.
But even with a narrow defeat the Matildas could still advance as one of the best third-placed teams.
The Green and Gold would have gained a ton of confidence from the win over Nigeria, with their attacking game catching fire thanks in large part to the superb Kyah Simon.
They were defensively solid as well, with Alanna Kennedy and Laura Alleway forging a strong combination in the middle, while Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord were impressive at full back.
It will have to be another 90 minutes of supreme concentration and quality though against the Swedes, who were third in Germany four years ago.
They are a side that likes to be proactive, led by star striker Lotta Schelin, while midfield veterans Caroline Seger and Therese Sjogran possess experience and class.
Stajcic made three changes between the first and two matches and may feel like he might need to freshen things up again in the side’s third game in a week.
Co-captain Claire Polkinghorne is an option at the back, especially as Laura Alleway has been battling a hip problem. "Polks" has class and experience and if she's over her fitness issues could be an option.
The bonus for the Matildas though is they pretty much have a clean bill of health, with the exception of a few bumps and bruises.
Will Stajcic stick with two-goal hero Kyah Simon to lead the attack again or re-call Michelle Heyman, while the likes of Teresa Polias and Tameka Butt are itching for an opportunity in midfield.
Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond have arguably been the Matildas best two players in the first games and they will again be key in the middle of the park.
There’s no doubt this is a massive occasion for both nations, who fancy their chances of going deep into the tournament.
While a draw is enough for the Matildas to progress to the second round, don’t expect Stajcic to simply play for a point.
Matildas eyeing revenge against Sweden
It’s not his philosophy to sit back and let teams play. He's got an attacking five that's at its best, brilliant.
It will be another attack-at-all-costs display from the Matildas and it should be enough for them to take winning form into the last 16.
— Westfield Matildas (@TheMatildas) June 15, 2015