Sweden rise to first in Group B with an attritional win against Gemma Davies’ England. Playing in a hybrid 4-3-3/5-4-1 system, Sweden found joy in their wing play through standout Evelina Duljan. It was, however, a set piece that decided the winner of this contest as Sweden’s defender Elma Nelhage glanced in an early header from a lofted corner kick.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Swedish
- Age: 19
- Date of Birth: 12/05/2003
- Current Club: Kristianstads DFF
- Position: Winger
Duljan is an incredibly exciting talent. Deployed on the left side of midfield, she was always the first person her teammates looked for. She was Sweden’s main source of creativity, both as a passer, presser, dribbler and runner.
Duljan always made herself available. Roaming around wide left, Duljan was either sneaking her small frame between unaware players or asking for the ball at her feet. On the ball, she would always look for the next solution. She would be patient in her search, opting to recycle the ball if there was nothing fruitful ahead of her.
She is a tricky winger, but one who plays the game at her own speed. She dictated how Sweden attacked because she was often the catalyst for each counter. Duljan was unafraid to hold onto the ball and let her teammates move around her. She would check the ball onto her favored right foot and send purposeful through balls to her forwards when that happened. If there was space, however, Duljan was aggressive and was technically gifted to create chaos in England’s backline.
Her strongest ability in this match was her ability to make her defender backtrack all the way to their own 18-yard-box. But once in the box, she was eager to make the best decision for her team, picking her head up to send in a cross or shooting when she was through on goal. Her crosses or final ball wasn’t always the most accurate, but the ideas were always there. She is a maverick of a player, but one that you want on your team at all costs.
Rating – A1
- Nationality: Swedish
- Age: 18
- Date of Birth: 15/03/2004
- Current Club: Jitex BK
- Position: Centre Back
Although she was not the defender who scored the goal this match, Sofia Reidy surely stopped a few from being conceded. She was a physical presence beyond her years, standing well above both sides’ keepers and the rest of her team.
It wasn’t just her size that was impressive, however. Reidy was a proactive defender in this match. Sweden played with 5-at-the-back out of possession as their No. 6 would drop into the middle of the backline and allow Reidy to be aggressive in winning the ball from England’s shuttling midfield. Without a great deal of pace, she relied heavily on her decision-making, only chasing loose passes or attackers that she was in good position to capitalize from.
Reidy seemed to win the ball every time England tried to drive into the box. She met numerous crosses with thumping clearances and was never afraid to dive into a challenge; she was also very good at marking oncoming attackers. Coupled with her bravery, Reidy was a great ball-winner all match. She did, however, lack awareness immediately following a challenge, leaving her fail-safe to clear the ball quickly which didn’t allow Sweden to launch as many counter attacks as they could have.
Because of Sweden’s hybrid system, Reidy often found herself driving into midfield with the ball at her feet. She struggled when it came to this, as her passing wasn’t accurate nor did she have the mobility to weave her way any further than Sweden’s defensive half. Her general link up play was decent but she often got cold feet and backtracked to her starting position. She is strong at this level, but will need to improve her mobility and passing range to be solid in the top flight.
Rating – B1