Sweden 3, Australia 1
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) _ Hanna Ljungberg scored twice Wednesday night as Sweden moved into position for a berth in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Australia.
Ljungberg netted in the 21st and 69th minutes and was denied a hat trick by goaltender Belinda Kitching’s diving left-handed save on a breakaway in the 65th.
The victory moved Sweden, the fifth-place finisher as host of the 1995 World Cup, into second place in Group D with one victory and one loss to group favorite China. A victory over Ghana on Saturday would move Sweden into the round of eight.
Australia, which tied Ghana in its opener, needs a victory over China on Saturday to have any hope of reaching the quarterfinals. The Matildas finished last at the World Cup four years ago.
Before 16,448 at the cavernous 80,000-seat Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, Sweden took the lead in the ninth minute when Jane Tornqvist, untouched by the far post, headed in Malin Andersson’s corner kick. Kristin Bengtsson’s perfect cross from the right wing found Ljungberg open at close range to make it 2-0 in the 21st.
Julie Murray, who lived in nearby McLean, Va., from 1979-1982 while her father worked at the Australian Embassy, scored Australia’s lone goal in the 32nd minute when she blocked a pass by Bridgette Starr and scored on a 30-yard run for her second goal of the tournament.
But Murray was Australia’s only offensive threat, and the Swedes surrounded her at every opportunity. Murray had one other good scoring opportunity, in second-half injury time, but goalkeeper Ulrika Karlsson stretched wide to make the save.
Ljungberg sealed the victory in the 65th when she beat Kitching and tentative defender Sarah Cooper to the ball at the top of the penalty box and rolled in the shot from 18 yards.