Sweden are staring down 24 years without a win against Germany
Caroline Seger and Co believe that their time is now
"We know that we are strong"
The first time Sweden and Germany met at a World Cup was in the very first edition of the competition back in 1991. Sweden won 4-0 and were awarded with a bronze medal. Four years later, the Swedes once again got the better of the Germans with a 3-2 group stage win.
The next time it was a final, the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003™. Sweden took the lead but Germany came back and eventually won it with a golden goal. Since then the Swedes have never put themselves in a winning position against their European foes: Olympics, Euros, World Cup – they’ve lost them all.
Germany has therefore become a bogey team for the Swedes. No matter how good they are or who they knock out along the way, when the Germans come around it’s normally time to pack their bags and go home.
“I definitely think that it plays a part," Sweden captain Caroline Seger said. "It's inescapable when you’ve lost so many matches in important tournaments over the years."
However, all trends do eventually end and the Swedes believe it’s time for this looming spectre to go away.
“We can’t let it become a ghost," defender Magdalena Eriksson said. "Instead we should see it as an extra motivation."
After beating Canada in the Round of 16, it is evident that confidence is high in the Swedish team. There's a true belief that this is their time.
“We will need our best performance of this World Cup [to beat them]," said coach Peter Gerhardsson. "But we understand that and we also do believe that we have the possibility to do so."
“Germany is always Germany, but I think we should dare to trust the team that we have built up," said Stina Blackstenius, who scored the winning goal against Canada. "We need to believe we can win this, because I really do believe that we can.”
Finding the net against Canada was hard. Doing it against the Germans is something no one has yet managed in France.
“It will be extremely difficult of course [to score]," said Seger. "But for us it’s all about believing in what we do. We know that we are strong.”
The last time the two sides squared off was earlier this spring in a friendly ahead of the World Cup. Again Germany won, 2-1, but that shouldn't be an indication for what will happen on Saturday.
“We weren’t happy with that performance," Seger said. "They got to control the match for 90 minutes, it’s something I really hope not to experience again.”
“Our advantage now is that our players that play in the Swedish league have played a lot more," said Gerhardsson. "Back then they had only played maybe one competitive match in the season. So we are now in better form.”
A win in Rennes would not only see Sweden progress to the semi-finals in Lyon, it would also see them get rid of the ghost that has haunted them for 24 years. A win would undoubtedly rewrite the history books.
Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.