Sweden eased into the FIFA Women’s World Cup last 16 with a 5-1 thrashing of Thailand, who nonetheless stole the show by netting their first goal of the tournament.
The Swedes were superior in all areas in the Group F clash and took a 3-0 lead into the interval at Allianz Riviera in Nice, Linda Sembrant opening the scoring with a header after just six minutes.
In front of a crowd of little more than 9,000 – the lowest of the tournament – Kosovare Asllani doubled the advantage and a powerful strike from Fridolina Rolfo added to the Thais’ woes.
Lina Hurtig’s header made it four before Thailand, who had been battered 13-0 by the United States in their opening fixture, pulled one back in second-half stoppage time.
Skipper Kanjana Sung-Ngoen raced clear of the defence and smashed past goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl from a tight angle, resulting in tears of joy from coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian.
Sweden had the final say after Elin Rubensson tucked away a penalty, awarded following the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee after Natthakarn Chingwong had handled in the box.
Elsewhere in Group F, the US reached the knockout stage courtesy of a 3-0 win over Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris.
Experienced forward Carli Lloyd put the Americans in front in the 11th minute when she fired into the net following a poor defensive header from Su Helen Galaz.
Chile’s Carla Guerrero had an effort ruled out for offside before Julie Ertz forced home a header from a corner.
Another pinpoint corner shortly after the half hour mark allowed the unmarked Lloyd to score her second with a powerful downward header.
Lloyd twice came close to completing her hat-trick but nodded against the bar – one of three US efforts to hit the woodwork – and missed the target with a penalty.