Leverkusen, June 28: Jessica Landstrom scored in Sweden's labored 1-0 win over Colombia in hot conditions at the Women's World Cup on Tuesday
Colombia, playing in its first World Cup game, had a player suspended before the match when reserve goalkeeper Yineth Varon failed a drugs test taken on Saturday.
Landstrom, the player of the match who had a number of chances, scored from close range in the 57th minute, set up by a fine cross from Lotta Schelin on the right wing.
“We won our opening match. It's been a while since that last happened,” Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby said.
Neither side were at their best before 21,106 fans at Bay Arena, their efforts drained by humidity and 32-degree (90-degree F) heat on the hottest day of the tournament so far.
Landstrom denied the heat was an issue for the players.
“We prepared ourselves in the best way possible,” she said. “We knew it was going to be warm weather so there's nothing we would have changed.”
Spectators coped by dousing themselves with water.
Sweden managed to keep Colombia's star 17-year-old Yoreli Rincon in check, but Colombia coach Ricardo Rozo said he expects more from the teenager as the tournament progresses.
“If she goes on working properly she can show more than she can show today,” Rozo said.
He refused to comment on Varon's suspension.
In the other Group C match, the United States was playing North Korea.
There was drama in the second minute when Schelin beat Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda, only for her shot to be cleared off the line by Natalia Gaitan. Moments later, Caroline Seger set up Schelin, whose shot was parried by Sepulveda and cleared off the line again despite a defensive mix-up between Andrea Peralta and Colombia captain Gaitan.
Landstrom had a terrible miss in the 13th—after the ball was played back by the influential Schelin—when she hoofed over from close range.
With scrappy mistakes from both sides, fans provided their own entertainment with obligatory Mexican waves.
Colombia took a while to settle, then displayed some good individual technique despite some very physical challenges from the Swedes.
“Of course we have to use our physical preconditions,” Dennerby said. “Use whatever you have.”
Carmen Rodallega's shot was blocked, and she sent another well wide before the interval.
After Landstrom scored, Rodallega almost equalized in the 66th when her speculative effort landed on the roof of the net.
Therese Sjogran went close before substitute Sofia Jakobsson drew a good save from Sepulveda in the closing stages.
“Perhaps we should have scored two or three more goals but it doesn't matter today. We won,” Dennerby said. “It was an excellent opening match, both physically and mentally for us.”
His counterpart preferred to look to a promising future for Colombian women's football.
“We have lots of young players rising through their academies and they're going to grow,” Rozo said. “We feel perfectly comfortable here.” AP