Team Sweden defeated the home team, Great Britain 9-6 Monday evening in the first round of the IFAF 2019 Women’s European Championships at John Charles Stadium in Leeds. England.
The British squad finished fourth in the 2017 World Championships and won the silver medal in the 2015 European Championships and were expected to be challenging for the gold medal again this year. The Swedes had other ideas.
Behind the excellent play of speedy wide receive Karin Ullén who scored Sweden’s only touchdown and also kicked a field goal, Sweden grabbed a 6-0 halftime lead. Great Britain battled back in the second half tying the game in the third. But Ullen’s late field goal and a last minute goalline stand by the defense were the difference.
With Sweden leading 9-6, the British team drove down to the Swedish two yard line with less than a minute to play, converting two fourth downs along the way, but Sweden’s defense held.
For Great Britain, Ruth Matta scored on a 76 yard run and was dangerous throughout the game.
Ullén opened the scoring on Sweden’s first possession, hauling in a pass from quarterback Linda Johansson and outracing the British defenders 87 yards for the touchdown. Britain had been stopped on a fourth and goal from the five yard line.
Both teams played solid defense in the second quarter with neither squad gaining an advantage. Swedish defensive back Elin Persson picked off a late pass in the second quarter to preserve Sweden’s lead.
The Swedes mounted an excellent drive early in the third quarter behind the running of Mimmin Zhao who took it all the way to the British 10 yard line. That was as far as they would get and Britain took over. Two plays later, Matta found a seam and raced 75 yards to tie the game at 6-6.
Sweden moved into British territory twice in the fourth quarter, reaching the 23 yard line the first time with Ullén missing a 40 yard field goal attempt. Minutes later, a double reverse put the ball on the British 10 yard line. Great Britain’s defense forces another field goal attempt and this time Ullén made good, giving Sweden a 9-6 lead midway through the quarter.
Team Great Britain mounted a final drive, mixing up the play calling nicely with quarterback Sydney Green punching the ball down to the two yard line. But a last pass attempt by Green was picked off by Matilda Svensson Duric with 30 seconds on the clock.
With the win, Sweden remains in contention for the gold medal. The Swedes will now face arch rivals Finland on Wednesday, August 14 in the game which will likely determine the gold medal. Finland overwhelmed Austria 50-0 in their opening game.
Source: Peter Nilsson