Finland was the first team to break Sweden’s zero in the World Cup qualifiers, but that was not enough to win. Anna Westerlund was surprised by Linda Sällström’s beautiful goal. Sällström herself says that she felt like “Linda as before”.
Under the spotlight at Gamla Ullevi, the ladies of Finland met Sweden in this year’s last World Cup qualifier. After an even first half, Sweden managed to win 2-1 after a late goal by Lina Hurtig.
Finland was still the first team to score in Sweden in the World Cup qualifiers. Ria Öling played Linda Sällström who turned away Sweden’s team captain Magdalena Eriksson and placed the ball in the crossbar.
– It’s a nice goal. I did not think so about Linda but you see that an old fox can still do it. She is older than me so she must be an old fox now, says Finland’s midfielder Anna Westerlund to Svenska Yle after the match.
Linda Sällström herself seems a little surprised.
– I have played in Sweden for a very long time and all players on the field are opponents I have played against several times before. It was a bit like before and then maybe Linda as before flashed to there a little and put it there, says 33-year-old Sällström.
Anna Westerlund historical – “I can be the queen”
Anna Westerlund is disappointed with the loss, but thinks that Finland offered good resistance to world number two Sweden.
– It hurts with loss, we did what we could. But I think we stand up well as a team and we gave them a fight, she says and continues:
– But it was a good match to get considering the European Championships, that we got to play against such a good team. Now there will be a much-needed break, but next year there will be as tough matches as this one so it’s just home and training and putting this behind you and learning from it, says Westerlund.
Anna Westerlund is now up alongside Jari Litmanen in the number of national team matches: 137.
– You appreciate it more the older you get. I am incredibly grateful that I got to play so many matches, hopefully there will be more. The litman will always be king, but I can be the queen, she says.
Linda Sällström: “Proud of the team”
Goal scorer Linda Sällström is also pleased with Finland’s game.
– I am very proud of the team. We fight very well. We could have got a point and it feels a little sad that we lost it at the end. But we made a good match otherwise. We stood up as a team and I am very proud.
Finland still lost a bit of their game in the second half, which saddens Sällström.
– We fell down a little too much and became passive while they brought in energetic players instead and we conceded a goal. We got tired at the end and I myself got cramps and had to replace myself.
– We did not really manage to keep our highest level for 90 minutes. Almost, but against such a good team as Sweden, you must be able to be at your highest level throughout the match.