Janine Beckie’s penalty miss proved costly as Stina Blackstenius’ clinical second-half strike sent Sweden into the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals courtesy of a 1-0 win over Canada.
Blackstenius scored what proved to be the decisive goal after 55 minutes in Paris with what was her side’s first shot on target of the match.
Canada was handed a lifeline soon afterwards when Kosovare Asllani was called for the penalty after a VAR review, yet Beckie saw her spot-kick saved superbly by Hedvig Lindahl.
Sweden will now meet Olympic champions Germany in the quarterfinals in Rennes on Saturday, in what will be a repeat of the showpiece fixture from Rio 2016.
Both sides had finished second in their respective groups with six points apiece and there was little to separate them in a first half in which defenses dominated.
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Canada had the better of the possession in the opening period but was guilty of being wasteful with its final ball – Houston Dash forward Nichelle Prince, in particular, a culprit.
They were made to pay 10 minutes after the restart following a swift counter-attack from their opponents.
Asllani led a counter down the left before releasing a wonderfully weighted pass to pick out Blackstenius, who slotted brilliantly beyond the advancing Stephanie Labbe.
Drama soon followed when referee Kate Jacewicz consulted VAR before eventually awarding a penalty for Asllani ‘s outstretched hand as she attempted to clear Desiree Scott’s shot, yet Lindahl dived at full stretch to her right to deny Beckie.
Sweden then saw a penalty of its own awarded only to be overturned by VAR but it held on for a narrow victory.