Saturday, July 10, 2010

10 July 1994 - The Swede Taste Of Victory

On 10 July 1994, Sweden advanced to the World Cup semi-finals by beating Romania on penalties, 2-2 (4-5).

The match, played before a crowd of 83,500 at Stanford Stadium in California, took a while to get going as the teams were scoreless deep into the second half. But in the 78th minute, Sweden were awarded a free kick from about 25 yards out. While appearing ready to send the ball over the wall, the Swedes employed a little trickery and rolled it down the right side where an onrushing Tomas Brolin turned and fired it into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

Romania equalized 10 minutes later with a free kick of their own that dropped in the box to the feet of Florin Răducioiu, who drilled it into the top of the net. Răducioiu then put the Romanians ahead in the 101st minute with a strong shot from the top of the box, but Sweden drew level in the 115th minute as a long cross found forward Kennet Andersson in front of the goal for an easy header.

In the ensuing shootout, the first kick fell to Sweden's Håkan Mild, who sent the ball well over the bar. But after three successful Romanian kicks, Swedish keeper Thomas Ravelli (pictured) saved the fourth. Even at 4-4 after five kicks each, the shootout went into sudden death. After Henrik Larsson converted for Sweden, Ravelli stopped the shot by Miodrag Belodedić for the win.

Sweden advanced to the semifinals where they lost to Brazil, 1-0, but they beat Bulgaria 4-0 in the third place match to secure their best finish since finishing as runners-up in 1958.

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