Wellington Regional Stadium will host Sweden vs Italy match on Saturday. Sweden Women will look to claim back-to-back victories at the Women's World Cup 2023 tomorrow. The Azzurre also have the chance to start the tournament with consecutive wins as they defeated Argentina in their tournament opener. Sweden had to work hard for three points in their opening game against the African champions. After playing out a goalless first half, Sweden fell behind in the 48th minute but they managed to score the equalizer just after the hour mark through Barcelona's Fridolina Rolfo. Amanda Ilestedt proved to be her country's hero with the winning goal in the 90th minute to claim a dramatic victory. Sweden are all set to continue their impressive group stage record, having reached the knockout rounds at seven of the previous eight World Cup finals.
Italy were knocked out of Euro 2022 without picking up a single victory but this is completely a changed Italy. The Azzurre secured maximum points in their opening match against South Africa thanks to experienced striker Cristiana Girelli. She scored a sublime headed goal in the 87th minute to guide her country to a narrow 1-0 win. Milena Bertolini's side are now unbeaten in five matches (W4, L1) and have kept clean sheets in their last three games.
This will be the 24th meeting between the two sides. Sweden leads the clash by 15-3. Their most recent clash came in February 2022 when the Swedish side claimed a 6-5 penalty shootout victory in the Algarve Cup following a 1-1 draw. Italy have conceded just three first-half goals in their last 13 internationals. Italy's 15 defeats against Sweden are the joint-most that they have managed against any nation. Sweden have lost just one of their last 10 World Cup group stage games (six wins) but have not won back-to-back games since July 2022.
Sweden boss Peter Gerhardsson could be tempted to stick with the lineup that started the tournament opener against South Africa. Despite scoring the winner on Matchday One, Ilestedt's main focus will be on her defensive duties when she lines up in a back four alongside Nathalie Bjorn, Magdalena Eriksson, and Jonna Anderson. Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius will be looking to open her account for the tournament when she leads the line on Saturday.
For Italy, Girelli can start against Sweden after coming off the bench to score the winner against Argentina. Roma midfielder Giada Greggi is also in contention for a starting berth following her substitute appearance in Monday's contest. After playing 82 minutes in Italy's tournament opener, 16-year-old Giulia Dragoni can retain her place in the side.
Sweden Women's possible starting lineup:
Musovic; Bjorn, Ilestedt, Eriksson, Andersson; Angeldal, Rubensson; Rytting Kaneryd, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius
Italy Women's possible starting lineup:
Durante; Di Guglielmo, Linari, Salvai, Boattin; Guigliano, Greggi; Beccari, Dragoni, Bonansea; Giacinti