Sweden beats Czech Republic and gets closer to Leipzig

When Sweden and Czech Republic took the court this afternoon in Bietigheim a tremendous fight was expected. And the teams did not dissappoint. The conducted by Jan Basny were determined to get their third victory, but the Swedish came from a day of rest after a tough fight against Hungary, and were looking to settle in after a loss in the debut against Poland.

The first half was a Czech show. With Lucie Satrapova under the posts and an unstoppable Marketa Jerabkova, the score after 15’ was 7-12. The Swedish were replying quickly after the goals, but they couldn’t quite catch them. The performance of Ulrika Toft Hansen, both in attack and in defense was key for the Scandinavian come back, and at the end of the first half, the big screen on the Ege Trans Arena showed 16-18 in favor of the Czechs.

On the second half Sweden came out very determined and in only a minute and six seconds tied the match. The next few minutes where an exchange of goals, from one side and the other. And after 12 minutes Signell’s squad took a +3 lead (26-23). Since that moment, the match was all for the girls in blue ans grey, who showed great power in defense and complicated the Czech attack who were forced to the passive play.

While Satrapova was still having a good performance, she could not stop Johanna’s Westbersg’s long range shots, which came in when they needed them the most. The Czech captain Iveta Luzumova was making great effort, but in the end none of it was enough to prevent her team’s first defeat by 36-32. The top scorer of the match was Luzumová with 9 goals and the MVP was awarded to Sweden’s Olivia Mellegard.

When asked about what had changed on the second half of the match for Sweden to come out as strongly as they did, Johanna Westberg explained: “the coach said that what we were doing was not good enough, that we had to step up and be there for each other in the defense, so I think we did right. We said we needed to run with them because they could get a little tired in the second half as well”. And looking ahead, Nykobyng Falster’s left back stressed the importance of improving the defense: “we need to get a little more stable on the defense, because right now we’re conceding 30 goals and that’s not good”.

Sweden’s next match will be against Argentina on Thursday at 18hs, while Czech Republic will play next, and they’ll face the only unbeaten team in the group: defending champions Norway.

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