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Freja plays 90 minutes for Sweden U23 against Portugal

Freja starts and completes 90 minutes for Sweden U23

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Liga F Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The international break continues and with another Madridista in action, this time for Sweden’s U23 side. Freja Olofsson has been a part of the U23 set-up for Sweden for a while and she was called up again. Sweden U23 were up against Portugal U23 in a friendly.

Sweden lined up in a 3-4-3 with Real Madrid’s Freja Olofsson starting as a part of midfield two. Portugal on the other hand were structured in a 4-4-2 diamond. Both teams came out with contrasting strategies to counter the opposition and it worked for both.

Portugal were off to a very good start, applying early pressure and asserting numerical superiority in the midfield. They scored with their first attack of the game, generating a good cut-back opportunity from the right and Portuguese captain, Joana Martins, made no mistake. Sweden were quick to respond and equalized within two minutes via Paulina Nyström, who met a cross from the deep with a looping header to catch the goalkeeper’s poor positioning.

Sweden used the naturally expansive nature of the back 3 to create chances for themselves and succeeded as well. They managed to find the lead in the 15th minute after a failed clearance fell kindly to Marika Bergman Lundin, who struck a very good shot from outside the box. Sweden increased their lead to two when Lundin latched on to a long ball in behind in the 30th minute.

Portuguese used the advanced nature of Sweden’s fullbacks to attack them and found some joy targeting the wide areas. They managed to create some good opportunities from dead-ball situation as well, eventually scoring from it in the 76th minute via Maria Miller from a freekick and very poor marking from Sweden. Portugal looked a more threatening in the second half and successfully overloading the midfield multiple times.

Olofsson didn’t have the best outing. Playing as a part of a midfield two she had the license to roam forward but also found herself with a lot of ground to cover. She found it hard to deal with Portuguese press for large parts of the game. Her passing suffered as a result of this as well. She did try her luck from range in the 23rd minute but it was a very tame effort.

This was the last game for Sweden U23 for the year and they ended on a high.

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