Sweden, Australia looking for World Cup breakthrough

One of the game's traditional powers goes up against an exciting upstart when Sweden meets Australia in the Women's World Cup quarter-finals on Sunday (Rogers Sportsnet, CBCSports.ca, 6:45 a.m. ET)
Lisa Dahlkvist, front left, leads Sweden in scoring with two goals at this tournament. (Matthias Schrader/Associated Press)

Day 12, Match 26

Sweden vs. Australia, Quarter-final

Date and Location

July 10, Impuls Arena, Augsburg, Germany

Broadcast details

Live on Rogers Sportsnet and CBCSports.ca (6:45 a.m. ET). Consult the full broadcast schedule.

What's at stake

A spot in the semifinals against Japan. Sweden is seeking to win its first World Cup crown after coming close twice before, finishing in third place in 1991 and runner-up in 2003. Australia reached the quarter-finals four years ago in China, its best showing at the World Cup in four appearances.

Setting the stage

This match pits one of the game's traditional powers against an exciting upstart.

Sweden finished third at the inaugural World Cup in 1991 and followed that up with quarter-final appearances in 1995 and 1999 before reaching the final in 2003, where they lost to Germany.

The Swedes' failure to make it out of the group stage in 2007 left many wondering if their best days were behind them. But after a bit of slow start in Germany, Sweden demonstrated it is a legitimate contender with a convincing 2-1 win over the top-ranked United States to win Group C.

After three consecutive first-round exits, Australia enjoyed a breakthrough in 2007 when it reached the knockout stage for the first time, running Brazil close in the quarter-finals.

The Aussies showed great heart and character in finishing second in a difficult group, beating perennial powerhouse Norway along the way, to book its date with Sweden.

Player to watch for Sweden

Lisa Dahlkvist — The Swedish midfielder leads her team in scoring with two goals at this tournament having found the back of the net against North Korea and the United States.

Player to watch for Australia

Lisa De Vanna — The Australian forward is often temperamental, but she knows how to score goals and can give her team a shot of inspiration with her ambitious and physical play.

The Swedish perspective

"We've watched their games and now we have to get together and find a strategy against that team. It's not going to be easy," coach Thomas Dennerby told FIFA.com.

The Australian perspective

"When you look at the squad there's an enormous amount of flexibility and depth. In a sense it makes it a lot more difficult but in another it's an advantage. I would think it would make it impossible for the opposition to figure out what we're going to do because often we ourselves don't know what we're going to do until the last minute," coach Tom Sermanni told FIFA.com.

World Cup head-to-head

These teams have faced each other six times in international play, with the Swedes earning four wins and a draw. Sweden defeated Australia in the first round of the 1999 World Cup.