Peter Gerhardsson was pleased Sweden secured their goal of topping Euro 2022 Group C with a 5-0 win over Portugal.
The number two side in the world cruised into the quarter-finals with an emphatic victory at Leigh Sports Village and the impressive margin of their triumph meant the Netherlands’ 4-1 success against Switzerland could only earn them a second-place finish in the group.
The defending champions will now face free-scoring Group D winners France in the last eight while Sweden will have an easier clash on paper with one of Iceland, Belgium or Italy for a semi-final spot.
A brace from Manchester City’s Filippa Angeldahl, coupled with Carole Costa’s own goal, put Gerhardsson’s team in control at the break and the icing on the cake was provided by Kosovare Asllani’s penalty and a wonderful fifth in stoppage time from Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius.
“For us we had a goal to win the group but we don’t want to let Portugal into the game,” Gerhardsson told a press conference.
“It was a balance of that. During the game I think we had good control but they have some good opportunities to score one goal and maybe that can change the nerves of the game, because we have the results of Netherlands and Switzerland updated all the way.
“Portugal, what they have done is good and we have respect for them with our planning. In the first thing, I am happy we won the game and the second I am happy we won with five-zero so we won the group.”
Three of Sweden’s goals were from set-pieces, which was also the case during their last encounter with Portugal back in February when they won 4-0 in the Algarve.
A tweak in their tactics saw the 1984 European Championship winners finally make the most of their famed ability from free-kicks and corners after struggling to do so in earlier encounters this summer with the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Gerhardsson added: “We meet Portugal that had good results and good performances against Netherlands and Switzerland so we were prepared.
“One thing we prepared is set-pieces. They have talked about it and we have talked about it. When we met in Algarve, we scored three (set-piece) goals there so it was one big thing.
“Against Switzerland, we talked also about it but we weren’t so good to create set-pieces. We had a little other plan to get more set-pieces and we got it.”
Portugal bowed out of their second European Championships with a heavy defeat but produced plenty of highlights in England.
On two occasions they bounced back from early two-goal deficits, the first to claim a draw with Switzerland while on the second occasion they lost narrowly 3-2 to the Netherlands, and despite finishing with fewer points than their maiden European Championships in 2017, head coach Francisco Neto feels progress has been made.
“Sweden is the highest team on the ranking and for sure they can get the trophy. They are very strong, they dominate all the games they play and they can go very, very far,” he insisted.
“In the performances, in the way we competed, we have grown since 2017 – but not in the numbers.
“We scored more but had less points, but in our capacity to play and compete at this level, we grew a lot.
“I think we left a mark here, we came to compete and we did it. Unfortunately in some aspects we are not as competent as we need to be.
“We believe that by the way we play, we are going to be here more times, but also know that in certain aspects we need to improve.”