Though Swedish twins Marie and Kristen Hammarstrom have spent most of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ looking on from the sidelines, they were weeping tears of joy yesterday when Marie leapt off the bench to score a dramatic winner against France.

Her unstoppable strike secured third place for the Swedes and triggered quite a party in the dressing rooms at the Rhein Neckar Arena in Sinsheim. And as the songs grew louder and the plastic bottles of water flew, the 29-year-old twins shared the magical moment together, proudly sporting the bronze medals that set the seal on their German adventure.

Still elated at having fired the Scandinavians onto the podium, Marie described her thundering match-winner, which screamed past France keeper Celine Deville and into the top corner: “We had a corner-kick and I was hovering outside the box just in case. The ball came to me on my right foot, but I’m not comfortable shooting with it, so I sold them a dummy and got the ball onto my left.

“I don’t know if the French knew I was left-footed,” continued Sweden’s heroine of the hour. “Maybe that’s why it worked out. It was an amazing feeling all the same. I only made my debut last autumn and this is my first World Cup.” 

Eyes on the prize
Hammarstrom’s hammer strike came only eight minutes from time, with the Blagut under pressure. Reduced to ten midway through the second half, they had also seen the French pull level just after half time. “If anything Josefine Oqvist’s sending-off brought us even closer together,” said the Orebro midfielder. “There was no way we were giving up because we really wanted that medal.”

Looking proudly on as she spoke was sister Kristin. Though the two each have 12 caps to their names, the reserve goalkeeper has more international experience under her belt than her sibling. “I came into the national team a good bit before she did,” explained Kristin. “I went to China 2007, and it really feels special to take part in a World Cup.”

And as Kristin went on to say, Marie’s 13th international appearance could not have been a luckier one: “To begin with I couldn’t believe she’d scored such an important goal but it didn’t take long for it to sink in. I screamed with joy and even started crying too. I’m very proud of my sister and immensely happy as well.”

Though she failed to make an appearance during Sweden’s campaign, there is no question of Kristin envying her twin sister: “I always wanted to play, but with what we’ve achieved and Marie’s goal it’s not been a problem for me to sit on the bench today. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Medals in hand and broad smiles across their faces, the Hammarstrom girls will long remember their day in the sun in Sinsheim.