Sweden punish All Whites for seven-minute lapse with 4-1 win

posted in: All Whites, News

Seven minutes of loose play before half-time proved costly for the All Whites as they conceded three rapid-fire goals to lose to Sweden in their friendly international.

The Swedish goals wiped out an early lead by the All Whites, and set up the side ranked #22 in the world for a 4-1 win against the New Zealanders.

But for the catastrophic spell before the break, the All Whites competed well for most of the game, and the final margin belied their effort and enterprise.

The All Whites started brightly, dropping into a 4-4-2 starting formation and looking to play the ball around.

Sweden had the first chance of the game when Viktor Claesson shot wide.

Viktor Claesson slices his shot wide after getting clear of Michael Boxall (5).

New Zealand took the lead in the seventh minute with a peach of a goal, created by Matt Garbett whose 25-metre pass from midfield carved up the Swedish defence, leaving Callum McCowatt free to steer the ball past ‘keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt and inside the post.

Main photo: Callum McCowatt lines up his shot to put the New Zealanders in front.

The home crowd went silent as the New Zealanders held a restrained goal celebration.

For the next 20 minutes, the sides tussled for possession and territory, with neither taking control of the game.

In the six minutes before half-time, all that changed as Sweden switched up a gear and found ways to split the New Zealanders’ defence.

In the 39th minute, Sweden pressed and forced a hurried pass between Elijah Just and his captain, Joe Bell. The ball was robbed and Claesson lined up Jesper Karlsson who slotted the ball inside the left post.

In the 44th minute, Robin Quaison put the Swedes 2-1 ahead when he was given space to shoot from 25 metres and the ball sneaked inside the post, beating a diving goalkeeper Oli Sail.

The killer blow came a minute later when a wayward Garbett pass was picked up by the Swedish midfield on the halfway line.

Three quick passes later and Karlsson was able to finish, his shot rebounding off the far post and into the net.

Marko Stamenic … played a full 90 minutes in the All Whites midfield.

Half-time stats (Sweden / New Zealand)

Shots: 8 / 3
Shots on target: 3 / 2
Possession: 52% / 48%
Passes: 233 / 223
Pass accuracy: 84% / 80%
Corners: 4 / 2

Sweden were content to let New Zealand have the ball in the second half’s early stages, and the All Whites were able to build a few attacks down the left flank.

In the 55th minute, a Libby Cacace cross found McCowatt whose shot flashed wide.

Sweden’s rhythm was disrupted by a series of substitutions as head coach Janne Andersson looked to rest key players ahead of next week’s game against Austria.

Midway through the half, New Zealand broke up the middle and Marko Stamenic laid the ball square for substitute Max Mata but his shot was blocked.

Sweden continued to rely on quick breaks to threaten New Zealand or to force mistakes deep in their opponents’ half.

With five minutes to go, one such mistake put Bell under pressure and he almost turned the ball into his own net, forcing substitute Callan Elliot to clear off the line.

Joe Bell almost puts the ball into his own net but Callan Elliot cleared off the line.

In stoppage time, Swedish substitute Anthony Elanga sprinted clear of the backpedalling New Zealand defence and directed his shot inside the far post to add his side’s fourth goal.

Match stats

Full-time stats (Sweden / New Zealand)

Shots: 16 / 7
Shots on target: 6 / 3
Possession: 49% / 51%
Passes: 466 / 477
Pass accuracy: 84% / 82%
Fouls: 9 / 11
Corners: 7 / 4

Match highlights


Game played on Saturday June 17, 2023
Friends Arena, Stockholm
Attendance: 20,528

Sweden 4 (Jesper Karlsson 39′, 45′, Robin Quaison 44′, Anthony Elanga 90+2′)
New Zealand 1 (Callum McCowatt 7′)



Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Daniel Sundgren, Carl Starfelt, Hjalmar Ekdal (Edvin Kurtulus 76′), Gabriel Gudmonsson (Ken Sema 46′), Marcus Rohdén, Jens-Lys Cajuste (Hugo Larsson 61′), Kristoffer Olsson (Jesper Karlström 46′), Jesper Karlsson, Viktor Claesson (Anthony Elanga 61′), Robin Quaison.

Subs not used: Robin Olsen, Viktor Johansson, Matias Svanberg.

New Zealand’s starting line-up. Credit: NZ Football.

New Zealand

Oli Sail, Tim Payne (Callan Elliot 74′), Bill Tuiloma, Michael Boxall (Nando Pijnaker 79′), Liberato Cacace, Matt Garbett (Clayton Lewis 75′), Joe Bell (captain), Marko Stamenic, Callum McCowatt (Marco Rojas 79′), Ben Waine (Max Mata 67′), Elijah Just (Alex Greive 79′).

Subs not used: Francis De Vries, Max Crocombe, Tommy Smith, Alex Rufer, Finn Surman, Nik Tzanev.


Referee: Craig Pawson (England)

Assistant referees: Lee Betts (England), Stuart Burt (England).

More about the game

READ MORE: Players ‘disappointed’ but will learn from Sweden loss, coach Darren Bazeley says >>>>

READ MORE: LISTEN: Pundit Jacob Spoonley tips changed All Whites line-up for Qatar >>>>

READ MORE: Sweden will provide benchmark for All Whites’ long-term progress — Bazeley >>>>

The Friends Arena, Solna.

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