Sweden came from behind to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win over Korea DPR that secures top spot in Group B and leaves the North Koreans facing a quarter-final clash with Germany.
The Swedes, for their part, march on to face Colombia in the last eight after a breathless encounter in Augsburg that was ultimately settled by a Hyon Un Hui own goal. This was an open, entertaining game from the outset, with Korea DPR – who started the game on maximum points and already assured of qualification – enjoying the best of the early exchanges.
With 26 minutes played, they moved in front, Kim Myong Gum firing home after Hyon Un Hui’s speculative cross-cum-shot had caught out the Swedish goalkeeper and rebounded back off the past. The North Koreans were looking formidable at this stage and, but for the woodwork, they would have been three goals up inside the next 12 minutes, with Yun Hyon Hi and Myong Gum both striking the upright.
However, with two minutes of the half remaining, Sweden grabbed a timely lifeline, with Sofia Jakobsson rounding off a slick counter-attack by converting Antonia Goransson’s incisive through ball. Reinvigorated, the Swedes pressed forward after the break and were rewarded inside seven minutes when Goransson scored a wonder goal, embarking on a mazy run beyond four defenders before shooting home.
Goransson, already on four goals for the tournament, might have made it five soon after when she hit the crossbar, and that ill luck looked like haunting Sweden when the unmarked Jon Myong Hwa headed Korea DPR level just a few minutes later. It was anyone’s game at this stage, and with 15 minutes remaining Korea DPR suffered a fatal blow from an unlikely source.
Goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui was at least partially to blame after pushing a cross from the right back towards her own goal, and Hyon Un Hui, in attempting to clear off the line, merely succeeded in helping the ball into the net. It left Sweden to hang on for a vital, hard-fought win and Korea DPR, winners in 2006 and runners-up two years ago, facing up to a titanic quarter-final tussle with the all-conquering hosts.