FIFA Womens World Cup Third Place Match

Friday, July 5th, 2019

By Jonathan Willis
FIFA Womens World Cup - Soccer Odds

This isn’t the game that either England or Sweden wanted to be in after making it to the semifinals, but both countries have a winning history here. The Three Lionesses made it to the Women’s World Cup Semifinals for the first time back in 2015, and they managed to beat Germany in the third-place game after a crushing loss to Japan in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Sweden has finished in third place twice, earning third place after crushing Germany in the inaugural World Cup and again in 2011 with a 2-1 win over France.

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England vs. Sweden

  • Date and Time: July 6, 2019, 11 a.m. ET
  • Location: Allianz Riviera, Nice, France
  • US Television Coverage: FOX
  • Betting Line: England -0.5 and -1, O/U 2.5 and 3

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England deserves to be favorites ahead of this match. The Three Lionesses have looked very sharp throughout this competition, and they have a ton of offensive firepower. They had no trouble with their Group Stage and followed that up with two resounding victories in their first two games in the knockout rounds. England dismantled Cameroon 3-0 in the Round of 16 and thumped Norway 3-0 in the quarterfinals.

Then came the Americans. The United States has been on another level this competition, but England gave them their toughest test over these last three weeks. Down 2-1 after a wide-open first half, the English took their game to another level. They nearly found the game-tying goal twice but Ellen White’s bid for a brace was called back by VAR for offsides, and Steph Houghton saw her penalty effort saved.

Sweden has massively outperformed expectations in France. They finished behind the US in Group F, and the general consensus was that the Swedes would exit no later than the quarterfinals.

However, they have been devastating on the counterattack, and that led to surprising wins over both Canada and Germany. Stina Blackstenius was at the head of the attack in both games, notching the game’s lone goal in the win over Canada and she was even better against Germany. Blackstenius continually punished Germany’s center backs on the counter, giving Sweden plenty of opportunities in a 2-1 victory. That counter was again effective in the first half against the Netherlands on Wednesday, but it petered out a bit as the game went along.

England Player to Watch

Ellen White has a chance to win the Golden Boot at this year’s World Cup with a solid performance on Saturday. White is currently tied with the United States’ Alex Morgan at six goals, and she has been the most consistent scorer for the Three Lionesses in France.

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Sweden Player to Watch

Even though she is 36, Hedvig Lindahl has proven she still has it. Lindahl has been phenomenal for Sweden during the knockout rounds, making a huge penalty stop against Canada in the Round of 16, and she made a few phenomenal saves to keep the score tied at nil against the Netherlands on Wednesday.

England vs. Sweden Free Picks

The English won’t have Millie Bright for this game after she picked up a red card late against the US, but they have much more talent on the attack than their opponents. White, Nikita Parris, Jill Scott, and Fran Kirby are a foursome to be feared and they will keep Lindahl busy. Additionally, England will have a major advantage in terms of rest after having an extra day off and by virtue of playing 30 minutes less in their semifinal.

I think England will pick up the victory here, but I have one caveat to make. If this game goes to penalties, Sweden will certainly win. No goalkeeper is better at stopping penalties than Lindahl, and England is just 1 of 4 at the spot this World Cup.

England vs. Sweden Prediction: England 2, Sweden 1

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