Sweden 4-0 Georgia
By: Om Arvind
Coach Peter Gerhardsson finally returned to the nominal back three look he teased prior to the Olympics, deploying Barcelona winger Fridolina Rolfö as a supposed wing-back and slotting in Kosovare Asllani at the #10 position.
However, due to Sweden’s sheer dominance over proceedings, they operated primarily from a back four, with Magdalena Eriksson bombing down the overlap and Rolfö coming inside as an inverted attacker. This created a rather asymmetric shape, as Lina Hurtig and Anna Anvegard continued to operate as strikers, leaving Olivia Schough to hold width by herself.
It hardly mattered. Sweden could’ve had quite a few goals in the early going, rattling the woodwork multiple times.
Sweden with 41 shots vs Georgia.— Mia Eriksson (@mia_eriksson) September 21, 2021
10 on target
79 % ball possession
11 corner kicks
A 4-0 win. And a win is a win!
Angeldahl rattles the crossbar pic.twitter.com/MqoMggKpx2— Hedonist (@The_Hedonist_6) September 21, 2021
Sweden finally opened the scoring in the 41st minute via a smart finish from Filippa Angeldahl after the keeper spilled the cross.
Eriksson made it 2-0 on a backheel finish by capitalizing on some chaos in the box.
BACK HEEL GOAL FROM MAGDA ERIKSSON pic.twitter.com/fsE7Gdzvwt— Hedonist (@The_Hedonist_6) September 21, 2021
Asllani was a major factor in her sixty minutes of play. She somehow found space between the lines against a Georgia team very much content to park the bus and made smart runs into the right channel. She was also a significant presence in the box and put in quality set-piece deliveries.
Gerhardsson subbed off Asllani for Madelen Janogy at the half hour mark.
Sweden continued to surge forward and got their third goal in the 84th minute from the spot.
They capped off the victory in injury time; Seger bagged her brace off of another set-piece from Sweden.
This win wraps up the first round of 2023 Women’s World Cup Qualifying for Sweden. They return to action on October 21st vs. the Republic of Ireland.
Hungary 0-7 Spain
By: Yash Thakur
Spain came into this game on the back of a big win over Faroe Islands. Vilda made 4 changes to the side that won 10-0 last game, with Esther González, Aitana Bonmatí, Andrea Pereira, and Sandra Paños coming in for Amaiur Sarriegi, Irene Guerrero, Ivana Andrés, and Misa, respectively.
Spain once again dominated proceedings and had the majority of possession. The Barcelona midfield trio of Alexia-Patri-Aitana controlled the tempo and were brilliant at circulating and progressing the ball.
Spain’s opener came in the 8th min, as Esther slotted home a headed ball played across the face of goal by Mapi León. Esther was at the back post completely unmarked and in acres of space.
Esther was tasked with making runs in behind the defensive line of Hungary and playing off-the-shoulder of defenders. She grabbed Spain’s second goal through these movements; Patri picked out her well-timed run and Esther slotted home the finish in the 21st min. Darting beyond the last line frequently also meant that Esther got caught offside a fair few times.
Spain’s third goal of the night was a thing of beauty and underlined the type of automatisms Vilda’s side currently uses. It was a move manufactured in Barcelona, as Mariona found Alexia at the edge of the box. The latter passed it back for Patri, who directed a first-time ball straight into the path of the initiator, Mariona.
Athenea, starting on the right flank, had quite some joy taking on players (as usual). Her quick feet and ability to take players on in 1v1 situation was incredible and she looked to stretch the field quite often.
More importantly, Athenea got her first senior goal in the 50th minute of the game, putting away a cross from Mariona at the far post. The ball took a slight touch off of the head of Esther before making its way into the path of Madrid’s young winger.
Athenea and Esther were substituted in the 59th minute as a part of a double change for Nerea and Amaiur.
Corredera, who had a decent game driving forwards with the ball, was also brought off in the 70th minute as a part of another double change, which saw Aitana and Corredera being replaced by Ainhoa Moraza and Irene Guerrero.
Amaiur continued her strong run of form since the start of the year (she had a poker in the previous game) and managed yet another brace. The Real Sociedad striker put away a Mariona square pass with a ridiculous backheel finish to make it 6-0.
Spain capped off the result via another a goal in the last minute of additional time; Mariona received the ball, shrugged off a defender, rounded the goalie, and slotted it home for Spain’s seventh.
Mariona goal, Nerea assist pic.twitter.com/ERi65Cn3TS— Hedonist (@The_Hedonist_6) September 21, 2021
Spain finished the first round of FIFA WWC 2023 qualifiers with a 17-0 aggregate scoreline, marking them out as one of the strongest national teams in the world at present. La Furia Roja will return to action on 26th October to face Ukraine.