Josefin Öqvist, 20, scored the game-winning goal in Sweden's thrilling 2-1 win over Canada Sunday in the semi-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003. Her tearful celebration brought tears to the eyes of her team mates as Sweden booked their passage to a first-ever FIFA Women's World Cup Final and she ran around the field in a fashion that only has one description.
"Wild," Öqvist said. "Yeah, I can be a little wild and crazy. It's good to be that way I think. It's fun."
Öqvist, the youngest player on Sweden's national team, watched breathlessly as her shot caromed off the left post and went behind Canadian goalkeeper Taryn Swiatek to cap Sweden's come-from-behind victory. She called her goal "a dream come true."
"I have always dreamed of scoring a goal like that one," the elfin forward said. "Really, this was my dream come true."
While she revelled in her late-match heroics, Öqvist admitted she wasn't sure her shot would find the back of the net.
"When I hit it I thought it would go wide," she said. "We missed so many chances all game that at first I thought I would miss mine. But, it hit the post and went in, so I am very happy."
Öqvist broke out in tears as her team mates mobbed her after she struck in the 86th minute against Canada. She ran back to the centre circle for the restart still not comprehending what had happened.
"I was just so happy," she said. "I couldn't believe it went in the net. I mean, this is the greatest thing that's happened for me."
It also made Sweden head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors look like a genius for selecting the 20-year-old Bälinge forward ahead proven stars Elin Flyborg and Ulricka Bjorn. Domanski-Lyfors said her young striker adds a new dimension to the squad.
"Josefin is different from the other players because she can get in deep behind the defence," Domanski-Lyfors said. "She is very fast and very mobile."
And, by her own admission, she loves to score.
"Yeah, I do," she said. "I mean, I love scoring goals. I always want to score and I hate it when I don't score. I really love to score goals."
While her goal vaulted her to stardom alongside team mates Hanna Ljungberg and Victoria Svensson, Öqvist remains, almost irrepressibly, a 20-year-old Swedish girl. Cherub faced with an impish smile, she actually describes herself as being a bit "blonde." She also said she has at least one passion beyond football.
"I love to shop," she said. "I like clothes and handbags and just being out with my friends. Shopping is good
Öqvist also marvels at the schedule some of her team mates keep. Svensson, for one, works seven hours before she dashes to her apartment, grabs her training kit, then heads off for four hours of practice. She said her life is a little bit easier.
"I still live at home and I'm looking for a job," she said. "So, I don't have to worry about doing that yet. What I would like to do is be able to play football all the time. I think that would be really good."
Although she's the youngest player on the team, Öqvist speaks like a veteran when it comes to both her goal and what it means. She said the upcoming Final against Germany had already tempered the surge of emotion she got when she scored against Canada.
"Right when I scored, sure, I got emotional. I mean, it was a big thing," Öqvist said. "But now, we have the Final and we must get ready for that game. It was great to score against Canada, but we have one more game to play and that is what's important now."
So is scoring. Öqvist has three goals in seven matches with the full national team, and with an impish grin, fully agreed with the suggestion she could average nearly a game every two games for her country.
"Yeah, that would be really cool," she said. "Just so long as I am scoring, I'm happy."