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Hosts Australia meet Sweden in World Cup third-place game on TSN

Australia soccer Sam Kerr - The Canadian Press

There's one game at every World Cup that nobody wants to play in, but if you find yourself in it, you might as well win it.

Sweden meets hosts Australia in Brisbane in the third-place game of the 2023 Women's World Cup.

You can catch Sweden vs. Australia in the third-place game from the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Brisbane on Saturday morning with coverage getting underway at 3:45am et/12:45am pt on TSN1/4/5, streaming on the TSN App and on

For the Blagult, the third-place game is familiar territory. Saturday's match will mark the fourth time Sweden will play in the game and the third time in the last four World Cups. In the three previous games, Sweden has won them all.

Sweden finds themselves in the game after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Spain in the semi-finals.

After a cagey 80 minutes, La Roja broke the deadlock in the 81st thanks to a fortuitous bounce. Jenni Hermoso's cross deflected off of Jonna Andersson and fell to Salma Paralluelo and the 19-year-old Barcelona winger made no mistake to put Spain up 1-0. But the Blagult weren't going out without a fight. In the 88th, a sky-high ball into the area from Fridolina Rolfo was knocked down by Lina Hurtig into the path of Rebecka Blomqvist for the Wolfsburg forward to strike home to make it 1-1. Extra time beckoned, but it wasn't to be. Only seconds after the restart, Spain had a corner. Instead of curling a shot into the box filled with players from both teams, Teresa Abelleira teed up a trailing Olga Carmona at the edge of the area to rip a powerful shot that Zecira Musovic could only get her fingertips on, but could not keep out as La Roja claimed a 2-1 win.

Manager Peter Gerhardsson was crestfallen after the match.

"I have to watch the game, I really do, before I can make any assessments," he said. "Right now I am full of emotions. It is the third loss in the semi-finals. I think everyone just feels sadness and huge disappointment. It was an enormous feeling that we scored and maybe we would go to extra time. And just over a minute later, it’s turned again. And that can happen."

Kosovare Asllani couldn't believe that the disappointment happened yet again.

"You're empty, you're disappointed, you're just tired of tournament tears and being sad," the Milan midfielder said. "I didn't think we would experience that again, not in this tournament, given the feeling we've had and the tournament we've done. A big disappointment."

The Blagult now must prepare for another third-place game that could be the final match in a Sweden shirt for their talismanic captain Caroline Seger. Capped 238 times, the 38-year-old Rosengard midfielder is playing at her fifth World Cup.

Hurtig says the team wanted to win it all for their captain.

“I wanted to give Caroline the gold," the Arsenal forward said. "She deserves it. She’s done everything for Swedish football and for women’s football. I wanted her to win the trophy in her last game. I really believed we would do it."

The team will try to channel their disappointment into another third-place victory.

"We can still come third and that is what we will focus on, coach, players and staff alike," Gerhardsson said. "We will be focused on having the best possible team in the final match because we want to win. If you win the last game, you can be happy."

For the team on the other side of the pitch, it was a different kind of disappointment in the semi-finals. Playing in their first-ever final four in front of a rabid home crowd, Australia dared to dream, but ultimately fell 3-1 to England.

After a back-and-forth opening half, the Lionesses claimed the lead in the 36th. Alessia Russo kept a ball from going behind for a goal kick and squared for Lauren Hemp, who was just too far in front of it at the near post, but Russo's former Manchester United teammate Ella Toone was there to hammer home a right-footed shot to make it 1-0. Midway through the second half, the Matildas would find their equalizer from who else but their superstar? After Russo was dispossessed just outside the Australia area, the Matildas broke on the counter with Sam Kerr picking up the ball near midfield. Driving forward, the Chelsea star used club teammate Millie Bright as a screen and unleashed an audacious shot from distance to beat Mary Earps for what was perhaps the goal of the tournament in the 63rd to tie it at 1-1. It was a truly special effort from Kerr. 

But the deadlock would only last minutes as the Lionesses would wrest the lead back in the 71st thanks to Hemp doing what she does best. A long ball from Bright was played into the area for Hemp. Her pressure forced Ellie Carpenter into a mistake that allowed Hemp to slip past her and beat Mackenzie Arnold from close range to make it 2-1.

In the 82nd, Kerr almost found another equalizer. Slipping past her marker, she got her head to beautiful service from Mary Fowler, but her effort floated harmlessly over the bar. Seconds later, Earps did well to turn away a low drive from Cortnee Vine. Then from a corner in the 85th, a clearance fell to Kerr at the near post, but she sent over from very close range. It would be the closest the Matildas would come to a second. 

The Lionesses put the match to bed in the 86th. A terrific diagonal ball from Hemp played Russo in behind the Matildas' back line and she dragged a low drive past Arnold to make it 3-1 and book England's place in the Final.

Manager Tony Gustavsson missed the rued chances after the match.

"In the 81st, 83rd and 85th minutes we had three sitters in a row," he said. "It's a failure to lose a game, [but] I am happy that the fans gave the players support after the game. They are proud of the players, that they leave everything out there. We promised each other we would leave everything out there and that is a success and they left it all out there. Unfortunately tonight it wasn't enough."

For her part, Kerr says it was difficult to not feel responsible for the defeat.

"That kind of chance for me is normally my bread and butter,” Kerr said of the shot from the late corner. “But unfortunately this World Cup hasn’t gone as planned for me. I would normally sink that, but I’ve trained maybe three or four times this whole World Cup. I can’t blame it all on myself, but it’s hard not to right now."

But the third-place match still offers the chance to win one last match in front of the home crowd and build positive momentum heading into the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“These players have always been bigger than 90-minute football,” Gustavsson said. "They want to leave a legacy, they want to inspire, they want to unite. It feels like a part of that has already been achieved. These players get another opportunity to play for a medal and this is the second time in a big tournament now [after playing for bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics]. This team wants to play for medals."

Can Sweden win a fourth third-place game or will the Matildas send the local fans home happy?