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Preview: Australia Women vs. Sweden Women - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Australia Women vs. Sweden Women - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Olympic Games Women's Football clash between Australia Women and Sweden Women, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Australia Women take on Sweden Women in the Olympic Games semi-finals on Monday, with both sides desperate to win this competition for the first time in their respective histories.

The two teams already faced each other in the group stages, with Sweden running out 4-2 winners in a highly entertaining game.

Match preview

Australia have proven to be one of the sides to watch at this summer's Olympics, having scored eight and conceded eight in their four matches so far.

The Matildas were involved in a topsy-turvy quarter-final against Great Britain Women on Friday, securing a first-half lead via Alanna Kennedy's 36th-minute strike, before Samantha Kerr sent the tie into injury time with an 89th-minute equaliser after Ellen White's brace had looked to be sending the Brits through.

With the first half of injury time approaching a close, Nikita Parris was tripped inside the penalty area, but Caroline Weir saw her tame penalty saved by Aussie goalkeeper Teagan Micah.

Instantly on the counter-attack, substitute Mary Fowler displayed superb skill to instantly kill a fizzed pass into her feet, before turning and firing a fierce effort which wickedly deflected beyond the reach of Ellie Roebuck and into the top corner.

Kerr struck for the fifth time this summer in the first minute of the second half, with White moving one ahead of her counterpart once more with five minutes remaining, but Tony Gustavsson's side held on to reach an Olympics semi-final for the first ever time.

The 47-year-old will be under no illusions regarding the task ahead of Australia on Monday, though, with Sweden arguably the most impressive team of the tournament so far.

Indeed, the Blue and Yellow are the only side to have won all four matches, including a solid 3-1 win over hosts Japan Women in Friday's quarter-final tie.

There was little to separate the opponents in an even first half, with Mina Tanaka cancelling out Magdalena Eriksson's early strike in the seventh minute.

However, Sweden showed their class after the break, with Stina Blackstenius bagging her fourth goal of the Games, before Kosovare Asllani's penalty sealed an appetising semi-final clash against Australia.

While the 2016 runners-up will rightly be favourites having beaten their forthcoming opponents in the group stage, they will be aware that fortune was arguably on their side on the day, with Kerr missing a penalty and the Matildas generally performing well below their best.

Australia Women Olympic Games Women's Football form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Sweden Women Olympic Games Women's Football form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Kerr is undoubtedly the player who Sweden will be keeping closest tabs on, with five goals in four games a superb return from the striker.

The 27-year-old is only three caps shy of 100, and three goals short of 50, but she would likely trade it all for a first trophy with her country since winning the Asian Cup in 2010.

Gustavsson will be tempted to start the electric Fowler after her positive impact in the last round, but the 18-year-old will likely be utilised from the bench once again.

Sweden, meanwhile, benefitted from resting their top goalscorer Blackstenius in their final group game against New Zealand, with the 25-year-old looking fresh on her way to scoring the crucial second goal against Japan.

Peter Gerhardsson is unlikely to make any changes to his starting XI, with the likes of Hanna Bennison and Olivia Schough keen to make an impact from the bench if called upon.

Australia Women possible starting lineup:
Micah; Carpenter, Kennedy, Luik; Raso, Van Egmond, Yallop, Catley; Simon, Kerr, Foord

Sweden Women possible starting lineup:
Lindahl; Glas, Ilestedt, Bjorn, Eriksson; Angeldal, Seger; Jakobsson, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius

We say: Australia Women 1-2 Sweden Women

Australia were only minutes away from crashing out against Great Britain, who it is probably fair to say are not quite as strong as Sweden.

As such, we expect the Swedes to edge out what is likely to be an entertaining affair. They look to have a little more quality across the park than the Matildas, who can be a little too reliant on Kerr.

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