Caroline Seger frustrated in friendly
The referee blew her whistle and the game was over. England 2, Sweden 0. A teammate looked at me and asked, "How can two halves be so completely different?"
The first half Tuesday in Oxford was one of those 45 minutes when everything we did worked. We came out flying, our ball speed was good, our movement and options were great and our work ethic was tremendous. We created a lot of opportunities and could have walked off the field with at least two goals. We played the way Sweden can play, we played the way the game is supposed to be played and it was the easiest way to play soccer. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get one on the board, so we went into halftime 0-0.
During halftime we had a short talk in the locker room and said we had to continue what we were doing. We made some minor changes, but overall we said we needed to just keep up the good work and try to get a goal. Let's go team!
But when the second half ended, I found myself looking at my friend and shaking my head in disbelief at what she had just said. I agreed with her, but I was too mad to have the conversation. Because, just as she said, it had been two different halves, almost two different games. Rather than buzzing around with the ball in the second half, we seemed slow. Instead of going after England, we let them attack us. We weren't as sharp with our marking and didn't look as confident. Sweden always has been at the top of women's soccer, and people always have had high expectations for our team. And although we haven't had the success we've hoped for in recent World Cups, people still have those expectations.
As a team captain, I can only agree with those who believe in us, because we're a very good team, a team that can succeed if we play the type of soccer that we did during the first half against England.
Soccer can be simple if you keep it simple. My mentor and former coach once told me, "As long as you have the ball, your opponent can't score." How simple is that? And so true.
We are a good team, a team to watch out for. This was a good test for us. We realize now we can't let our momentum drop when we come out for the second half. We need to play our game right away, capitalize on our chances when they come and carry our energy through the second half. If we don't put one in the goal, a great half of soccer is meaningless.
Now I look at my teammates and think, Thank God this was only a friendly and that we're in England right now and not Germany. Still 40 days 'til Sweden plays Columbia on June 28!