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Women's Football News
England performed strongly in their opening game of 2008 but, despite building on the progress of last year's World Cup campaign, they were unable to prevent Sweden winning the contest by two goals.
Hope Powell was disappointed with the result but not her team's performance as they went down against a Swedish team who, at number three in the world, are ranked seven places higher than England.
In a friendly which both sides were treating as preparation for resuming their respective Euro 2009 qualifying campaigns next month, England enjoyed the majority of the possession but it was Sweden who created most of the scoring opportunities. Striker Lotta Schelin shot wide from a great position after just two minutes, then right back Anna Paulson's 12th minute free-kick was touched on to the bar by goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain. Schelin was guilty of another bad miss five minutes later, the striker shooting straight at Chamberlain after breaking clear of the England defence.
England had been moving the ball well along both flanks but it was not until the 21st minute, when Paulson had to hack clear of an empty net following good link-up play by striker Kelly Smith and midfielder Fara Williams, that they created any real danger. Within 60 seconds, however, they should have taken the lead. Smith's superb through-ball put Rachel Yankey clear, but the left winger's cross shot flew wide of the far post.
Long range efforts by Williams and right winger Karen Carney were comfortably saved by goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl before England had another scare in the 27th minute. Chamberlain spilled a high cross and, as striker Jessica Landstrom raced in for the kill, the keeper had to scramble back to clear off the line. Chamberlain was finally beaten a minute before half time, Schelin collecting right winger Frida Ostberg's pass to lob the ball home.
The pace and the fluidity of the game dropped after the interval, partly through the number of substitutions by both sides, and chances were few and far between. Williams went close with a 10-yard volley from substitute Sue Smith's 56th minute corner, but the decisive moment arrived nine minutes from time. Schelin again found herself behind the defence and claimed her second goal with an 18 yard shot that deflected off Chamberlain and into the net.
England: Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Scott (sub Jody Handley 80mins), Casey Stoney (sub Rachel Unitt 62mins), Anita Asante, Faye White (sub Laura Bassett 80mins), Mary Phillip, Karen Carney (sub Sue Smith 45mins), Fara Williams, Jill Scott (sub Eniola Aluko 40mins), Kelly Smith (sub Emily Westwood 62mins), Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Kay Hawke, Lianne Sanderson.
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