By HENRY MORABANG
PAPUA New Guinea will maintain their defensive game plan when they take on Sweden in their second group A game of the Under-20 women’s soccer World Cup at the Sir John Guise Stadium tonight.
Coach Lisa Cole said despite the heavy loss to one of the tournament’s best teams in Brazil, her team had not given up hope of improving as the tournament progressed and that would start against the Swedish, who themselves are coming off a surprise 0-2 loss to North Korea on Sunday.
Cole defended her decision to keep talented striker Ramona Padio on the bench against Brazil and bring the West New Briton out only in the second-half.
PNG were beaten 9-0 by Brazil but they played hard until the final whistle.
The American said they were not in a rush to get Padio out on the paddock because she wanted to save her best attacker for later in the match after the Brazilians tired.
She said that Padio’s fitness had been an issue and it was decided that the 20-year-old would be best used off-the-bench.
Striker Jacqueline Maiyosi was outstanding but their midfield let the team down.
Cole said it would be business as usual when they face Sweden today.
Sweden assistant coach Karin Andersen said the loss to North Korea had only spurred her side on and they would be doing all they could to make the top two of group A.
She said her side appreciated that their game two opponents were the hosts but that would not deter her players from their goal.
“We respect our opponents despite them losing to Brazil 9-0.
“Every World Cup game is important for us, and we are not taking PNG lightly,” Andersen said after completing their training yesterday.
“We hope to bounce back and see if we can beat Brazil in the final game to move on to the second round of the competition,” she said.
“We have no injuries and we are looking forward to challenge PNG on their home ground.
“The crowd has been very supportive of their side, and we are going to face the same reception at the Sir John Guise Stadium.
“We want the win as well as PNG so it should be an interesting game for the fans.”
By HENRY MORABANG