Peter Gerhardsson was delighted that Sweden secured their goal of winning Euro 2022 Group C with a 5-0 win over Portugal.
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The defending champions now meet clean-shooting Group D winners France in the last eight, while on paper Sweden will have an easier tie against Iceland, Belgium or Italy for a place in the semi-finals.
A brace from Manchester City’s Filippa Angeldahl, coupled with an own goal from Carole Costa, put Gerhardsson’s side in control at the break and the icing on the cake was Kosovare Asllani’s penalty and a wonderful added-time fifth from Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius .
“Our goal was to win the group, but we don’t want to let Portugal get involved,” said Gerhardsson at a press conference.
“It was a balance. During the game I think we had good control but they have some good chances to score and maybe that can change the nerves of the game because we have fully updated the Netherlands and Switzerland results.
“Portugal, what they have done is good and we respect them with our planning. Firstly, I’m glad we won the game and secondly, I’m glad we won 5-0, so we won the group.”
Three of Sweden’s goals came from set pieces, as was the case in their last encounter with Portugal in February, when they won 4-0 in the Algarve.
A change in tactics allowed the 1984 European champions to finally make the most of their free-kicks and corners after struggling with them in previous ties against the Netherlands and Switzerland this summer.
Gerhardsson added: “We’re going to face Portugal, who had good results and good performances against the Netherlands and Switzerland, so we were prepared.
“One thing we have prepared is set pieces. They talked about it and we talked about it. When we met in the Algarve we scored three (set-piece) goals there, so it was a big deal.
“We also talked about it against Switzerland, but we weren’t that good at creating standards. We had a little different plan to get more set pieces and we got it.
Portugal dropped out of their second European Championship with a bitter defeat, but provided many highlights in England.
On two occasions they bounced back from an early two-goal deficit, the first time clinching a draw against Switzerland, while the second time they narrowly lost 3-2 to the Netherlands, and despite being on fewer points than theirs first European Championship 2017, head coach Francisco Neto sees progress.
“Sweden are the best team in the rankings and for sure they can lift the trophy. They are very strong, they dominate all the games they play and they can go very, very far.”
“We’ve grown in performance and the way we’ve started since 2017 – but not in numbers.
“We scored more but fewer points but we have grown a lot in our ability to play and compete at this level.
“I think we made our mark here, we came to compete and we made it. Unfortunately, in some aspects we are not as competent as we should be.
“We believe that we will be here more often because of the way we play, but we also know that we have to improve in certain aspects.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/portugal-sweden-switzerland-netherlands-three-b2125265.html Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson was delighted after finishing first against Portugal