FIFA Women’s World Cup : Ilestedt, Rolfo and Blackstenius scored as Sweden thrashes Italy 5-0 to advance to knockout stage

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Sweden turned on the style to demolish Group G rivals Italy and secure a place in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup with one game to spare.

The 2019 semi-finalists showed showed why they remain heavyweights of the women’s game as Amanda Ilestedt, Fridolina Rolfo and Stina Blackstenius scored in the space of seven minutes at the end of the first half.

New Arsenal signing Ilestedt opened the scoring with a glancing header from Jonna Andersson’s corner before Rolfo, a Champions League winner with Barcelona, used her knee to double the lead after another corner.

Italy, who had recorded clean sheets in six of their previous 13 World Cup matches, conceded a third when Blackstenius, another Arsenal player, finished from close range.

In front of a crowd of 29,143, it went from bad to worse for Le Azzurre when Ilestedt added the fourth – her third goal of the tournament – from another header from yet another corner.

And substitute Rebecka Blomqvist added the fifth in the 95th minute.

Sweden will face one of the United States, the Netherlands or Portugal in the knockout stage.

Italy remain second in the group with three points from two games, but need to defeat South Africa next Wednesday back in Wellington, to make sure of progressing in the tournament.

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