Brisbane (Australia), Aug 19: Star forward Fridolina Rolfo continued to torment Australia as she scored one and set up the other as Sweden secured third place with a well-deserved 2-0 win over Australia here on Saturday. Rolfo scored in the 30th minute via a penalty and then set up the goal by Kosovare Asllani as Sweden won the third-place play-off.

Rolfo had scored twice in the group stage of the 2020 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament against Australia and once again in that competition’s semifinal. She was the thorn in the flesh for Australia once again on Saturday.

The victory, sealed by Asllani’s superb second-half strike, maintains the Scandinavians’ remarkable 100 per cent record in four FIFA Women’s World Cup bronze-medal playoffs and earns them a fifth podium finish, which is second only to the USA's tally of eight. It also provides a sad end to a memorable campaign for the Matildas, who had been hoping to enhance their best-ever performance at the global finals and finish on a high in Brisbane.

The tone of the match, though, was set inside the opening minute when Sweden carved through the leaden-footed Australia defence to set up Stina Blackstenius for a right-foot shot that forced an excellent save from Mackenzie Arnold. It was the first of many opportunities for a team that looked fresher and faster throughout, and it was no surprise when the Swedes moved in front on the half-hour mark.

Clare Hunt clipped the heels of Stina Blackstenius inside the box and it was identified following a VAR review. This earned Sweden a penalty and, despite Australia’s best efforts at gamesmanship, Rolfo dispatched a textbook left-foot penalty low and hard into the right-hand corner.

The Matildas did have their moments, and Zecira Musovic was twice called upon to keep out powerful efforts from Hayley Raso and, later, Sam Kerr. Sweden, though, remained the game's most potent attacking force, and they made sure of another Women’s World Cup bronze on 62 minutes when Rolfo teed up Asllani for a wonderful first-time shot that flashed low beyond the helpless Arnold.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 19, 2023 10:04 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website