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London 2012 Olympics

Early goal rush pushes Sweden past South Africa

Sweden celebrated early and often during their 4-1 win over South Africa, with Lotta Schelin once again proving her talent by scoring twice during the win. South Africa’s unfortunate placement in the same group as Sweden, Japan, and Canada will undoubtedly result in some lopsided results, yet they were able to not only manage six shots on goal but score one against Sweden.

Sweden tallied three times in the first 21 minutes, putting the game easily out of reach. After a well-timed run down the right side from Sofia Jakobsson that caught South Africa deeply out of position, Nilla Fischer scored in the seventh minute from the top of the box after her shot ricocheted off South African defender Refiloe Jane and past keeper Roxanne Barker.

Then Sweden struck twice in quick succession, the first coming from Lisa Dahlkvist with a perfect finish to Hammarstrom’s cross into the box in the 20th minute. Lotta Schelin thenbeat Barker in the 21st. South Africa paid a heavy price for allowing Schelin to penetrate so quickly, and could only watch as Sweden danced once again after scoring.

South Africa was able to get on the board in the second half, which must have shocked Sweden after they kept the game comfortably at hand for a full hour. Portia Modise had a spectacular goal after stripping Sweden of the ball. She saw that keeper Hedvig Lindahl was well off her line, and with incredible vision from halfway down the field, Modise struck a high bullet that was destined for the back of the net. A stunner for Sweden (Lindahl especially) and a goal that should be featured on any highlight reel of the first day of Olympic play.

Sweden capped the scoring with their fourth goal, and Schelin’s second in the 63rd minute. Schelin once again beat her defender easily to slot the goal past Roxanne Barker. This time, however, there was no dancing, with the team being all business after losing the clean sheet.

With Sweden cruising to victory, they’ll need the momentum to tackle Japan in their next game on Saturday. With Japan’s possession game looking back on point, Sweden is unlikely to manage three goals in 20 minutes. South Africa will face Canada on Saturday, and their defense will have to do better in order to shut down Christine Sinclair. This result could be closer than today’s, but it will if Sinclair is given the same amount of room that Lotta Schelin found today, South Africa will find itself in trouble once again.

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