Sweden put on a show to destroy Group G rivals Italy and advance to the Women's World Cup's round of 16 with one game remaining


The 2019 World Cup semi-finalists, Sweden, demonstrated their dominance in the women's game with Amanda Ilestedt, Fridolina Rolfo, and Stina Blackstenius scoring in the first half. Ilestedt opened the scoring with a header from Jonna Andersson's corner, while Rolfo doubled 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 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 goal of the tournament, her third goal of the tournament, with another header from another corner. Substitute Rebecka Blomqvist added the fifth in the 95th minute. Sweden, ranked third in the world behind defending world champions the United States and Germany, sent a powerful message that they could go deep into another tournament. 

They have made it to the Olympic final two years ago and made the semi-finals of Euro 2022. The team, based about half an hour's drive from Wellington, attracted local support in New Zealand's capital. Italy left shell-shocked, but they have not long to recover before facing South Africa in a match they must win to make sure of joining Sweden in the last 16. They secured a narrow 1-0 win over Argentina in their first group game, but were completely overwhelmed in this all-European encounter. After the men's national team failed to qualify for the past two World Cups, the women are flying the flag on the world stage. They need a much-improved performance against South Africa to stay in this tournament. Le Azzurre started confidently and should have taken the lead when Sofia Cantore's attempt was spilled but Lucia di Guglielmo fired into the side-netting.


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