Sweden became the first group winners to qualify for the semi-finals of Germany 2011 to set up a clash with Japan in Frankfurt after defeating Australia 3-1.
The Blagult deserved to progress after dominating the match in Augsburg for large periods of the game, but they were made to work hard for the victory by a young Aussie side who showed huge commitment to get back into the game after conceding two early goals.
Player of the match Lotta Schelin had a great chance to open the scoring when Collette McCallum's back pass almost failed to make it back to the keeper, but the Lyon forward failed to control the ball properly and the threat passed.
At the other end, Australia seemed intent on peppering the Sweden defence with crosses from either flank, but the well organised Scandinavians coped well with the pressure.
The deadlock was broken in the 11th minute when a long ball from the back was collected by Schelin who showed some magic to get past FIFA Women’s World Cup™ debutant Ellyse Perry, before cutting the ball inside for Therese Sjogran who took one touch before firing inside Melissa Barbieri’s near post.
Sjogran was the architect for Sweden's second five minutes later when her cross from the right was inch perfect for the virtually unmarked Lisa Dahlkvist to head home. Josefine Oqvist had a good opportunity to make it three when she leapt above Kim Carroll to connect with Schelin’s cross, but her effort was well off target.
Sweden were in total control and Australia were struggling to get out of their own half. It looked as though they would lead either a moment of magic or a mistake to get them back into the game. It almost arrived in the 38th minute when McCallum's free-kick caught Hedvig Lindahl unawares and off her line, but much to her relief, the ball sailed wide.
Australia pulled one back two minutes later - and what a goal it was. A short corner from McCallum was played Perry on the edge of the box. She took a touch to control the ball with her right foot and then launched an unstoppable left footed drive into the top corner of the net.
In their previous two games, Australia had gifted goals to the opposition and unfortunately for Tom Sermanni’s side they made it three in a row at the worst possible time. Carroll casually attempted to play the ball back to the keeper, but failed to spot Schelin. The Sweden forward gratefully accepted the chance, rounded Barbieri and slipped the ball into the back of the net.
Backed by the Augsburg crowd, the Matildas refused to give up and almost reduced the deficit when Tameka Butt’s cross from the right was headed just wide by Kyah Simon. Minutes later, Lisa De Vanna may have regretted not squaring the ball to her strike partner after one of her trademark lung-bursting runs into the box. After beating Lindahl to the ball, the forward opted to shoot herself rather than square the ball to Simon who would have had an easier opportunity to make it 3-2.
As time ticked away, Barbieri almost took the ball over her own line after collecting a cross from the right awkwardly, while at the other end, Lindahl made a fantastic diving save to deny Butt’s drive from 25 yards.
Sweden celebrated a place at the Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 as well as the semi-finals at the final whistle, while Australia will almost certainly be back in four years time stronger for their experiences this time around.
Player of the match: Lotta Schelin (SWE)