By ISAAC LIRI
DESPITE going down to North Korea after putting on a strong effort was heartbreaking for Brazil, their hopes of making the World Cup finals remain good as they look to their crucial group A clash with Sweden on Sunday.
Brazil and Sweden have a loss and win under their belt and will go head-to-head, with the winners to join North Korea in the next stage of the tournament.
Brazilian coach Dorival Bueno said facing the Swedes in the final group match with a lot riding on the result meant they would need to be close to perfect.
“It won’t be an easy task as Sweden are a strong side with quality players and we have to put in a similar effort to the one against Korea,” Bueno said.
“The key thing for us is to make sure we get something back from our effort. Against Korea, we put in a big effort but the result didn’t show that.”
Sweden coach Calle Barrling said their win over PNG had put them in contention for a finals spot but he needed his best players to continue their form in order to cement a quarter- finals berth.
Striker Stina Blackstenius got her tournament on a roll with four goals against PNG — the most by any player in a single match at this World Cup so far — and Barrling would be counting on her to take that form into the Brazil game.
“We will have to make sure our best team is available for that important game. We have come this far in the World Cup and our chances depend on the last game against Brazil,” Barrling said.
Blackstenius backed her coach and said the challenge was as much a team one as it was an individual one.
“I now have to concentrate on our game against Brazil. They are a strong side and we will have to improve a lot if we want to win,” Blackstenius said.
By ISAAC LIRI