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Brave Wales suffer late blows
 Women's Football News 1 Apr 2010
 
Brave Wales suffer late blows - 1 Apr 2010 - Women's Football NewsWales 0 Sweden 4 (Fischer 69, Liljegard 77, Paulson 84, Landstrom 89)
Four goals in the last 21 minutes gave Sweden a flattering 4-0 victory over a hard working Wales in a match played in atrocious conditions at Airbus UK Broughton.
 
The margin of defeat was very rough on a Welsh side which had matched their top five ranked opponents and group leaders for three quarters of the match before Sweden's greater strength and experience told in the later stages.
 
Manager Adrian Tucker kept faith with an unchanged side following their 3-2 win over Belgium at the weekend but the match was played in a howling gale and driving rain, which at times turned to snow, resulting in a saturated pitch which made things difficult for both teams.
 
Wales started the match full of confidence and, with the wind at their backs, took the game to their opponents during the early stages. Jessica Fishlock shot wide after cutting in from the left and a strong run from Gwennan Harries took her into the area but her low cross just evaded the oncoming Helen Lander.
 
Sweden hit back with Caroline Seger heading wide from a corner and Jessica Landstrom driving a low cross to the far post, where a great saving tackle from Erin Vaughan prevented Lotta Schelin from scoring.
 
With wingers Harries and Loren Dykes looking lively and Fishlock prompting matters in the centre, Wales enjoyed a good spell which almost resulted in them taking the lead. A good flowing move, their best of the match, ended with Loren Dykes and Katie Daley setting up Michelle Green whose stinging shot was tipped round the post by Hedvig Lindahl.
 
As the half wore on, Sweden again came strong and it took a superb save from Rhian Nokes to stop them going ahead, at full length from Landstrom following some good work by the lively Schelin.
 
In the second half, Wales found themselves playing against the strong wind and driving rain, which often turned to snow, and Sweden began to inflict heavy pressure. Nokes was again called into action to deny Schelin after the striker had shown great pace to work herself a chance.
 
Wales suffered a double blow as Fishlock and Lander were forced to leave the field with injuries but they continued to hold out with captain Emma Jones marshalling the defence well alongside Kerrie Manley, with young full backs Vaughan and Jasmin Dutton also having good games.
 
However in the 69th minute, Welsh resistance was broken. Nilla Fischer, fresh on as a substitute, carried the ball towards the area before finding Schelin out wide. Her low cross ricocheted into the path of Fischer who was left with a straight forward task of slotting home from close range.
 
Wales lost another player, this time Green, to injury and Sweden took advantage very quickly. Schelin was again involved, beating a challenge from Dutton before pulling the ball back from the line and, although Nokes made a fine save from Landstrom's initial effort, the ball rebounded for Linnea Liljegard to follow up and score.
 
The Welsh side began to tire rapidly and they found themselves further behind as full back Anna Paulson took aim and drilled an unstoppable shot from 30 yards which beat the diving Nokes and found the roof of the net.
 
The conditions and heavy pitch, along with further injuries, had completely taken its toll and Sweden added a fourth just before the end. This time, Paulson sent in a cross from the right and Landstrom made no mistake with a stooping header from close range.
 
It was a sad end to what had overall been a good performance by Wales who can take great heart for the way they had competed against high class opponents for the vast majority of the game.
 
Wales: Rhian Nokes, Erin Vaughan, Jasmin Dutton, Kerrie Manley, Emma Jones, Katie Daley, Loren Dykes, Michelle Green (sub Emma Plewa 76mins), Helen Lander (sub Cheryl Foster 62mins), Gwennan Harries, Jessica Fishlock (sub Kylie Davies 55mins).

Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Charlotte Rohlin, Anna Paulson, Caroline Seger, Sara Thunebro, Sara Larsson, Lotta Schelin, Jessica Landstrom, Louise Fors (sub Linnea Liljegard 55mins), Therese Sjogran (sub Petra Larsson 86mins), Lisa Dahlkvist (sub Nilla Fischer 68mins).

 
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