South Africa: Ilestedt Rescues Sweden with Late Winner

Sweden first nation to come from behind and win at these global finals

  • First match at the tournament where both teams scored
  • Caroline Seger appears in a fifth Women’s World Cup
  • Sweden 2-1 South Africa | Group G
  • Goalscorers: Hildah Magaia (48’), Fridolina Rolfo (65′), Amanda Ilestedt (90′)

Hildah Magaia’s 48th-minute goal had South Africa on course for a historic victory, but a determined Sweden side became the first nation at the tournament to come from behind and win with a fortuitous Fridolina Rolfo goal in the 65th minute and then a 90th-minute header from Amanda Ilestedt securing all three points for the third-ranked Swedes.

In steady rain in the New Zealand capital it was a tense first half that saw Sweden dominate possession but struggle to create any clear-cut chances outside of a few brief moments from a string of corners, with the best of those seeing the eventual match-winner, Ilestedt, sending a looping header over the bar in the 43rd-minute as the teams went into the break scoreless.

Three minutes after the restart came one of the most seismic moments at Australia & New Zealand 2023 when the electric Thembi Kgatlana broke free down the left and sent a shot at Zecira Musovic with the Sweden goalkeeper parrying the ball straight into the path of an onrushing Magaia who slotted home from close range.

Unfortunately in the act of scoring the 28-year-old injured herself and was replaced in tears after a lengthy delay and things got worse for the African champions as Sweden drew level midway through the half.

A teasing cross from the right from Johanna Kaneryd took a touch off Lebohang Ramalepe into Rolfo with the ball then spilling past Kaylin Swart to make it 1-1.

Sweden ramped up the pressure with substitute Caroline Seger, who became the first woman from her nation to feature in five FIFA Women’s World Cups™, coming close to finding a winner in the 81st minute.

Right at the death it was Sweden that snatched all three points with Ilestedt rising to meet a well-delivered Kosovare Asllani corner and break South African hearts.

Key stat

This was the tenth match at Australia & New Zealand 2023 but the first where both nations scored a goal and also the first where a nation came from behind to claim all three points.

VISA Player of the Match

Amanda Ilestedt (Sweden)

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