Another Madridista is now playing during the current international break, this time for Sweden’s U23 team. Freja Olofsson was recalled after previously being a member of Sweden’s U23 squad. Sweden U23 faced Portugal U23 in a friendly match.
Freja Olofsson, a midfielder for Real Madrid, started for Sweden in the 3-4-3 formation. Portugal, on the other side, had a 4-4-2 diamond configuration. Both teams came out with different approaches to deal with the opposition, and both were successful.
Portugal got the game going quickly, applying pressure and establishing their numerical advantage in the middle of the field. With their first attack of the game, they scored. The Portuguese captain, Joana Martins, took advantage of a good cut-back opportunity from the right and scored. Within two minutes, Sweden had equalised thanks to Paulina Nyström, who met a deep cross with a looping header to take advantage of the goalkeeper’s weak placement.
Sweden successfully created opportunities for themselves by utilising the back three’s inherent expansiveness. After a failed clearance fell nicely to Marika Bergman Lundin, who fired a very fine effort from outside the box in the 15th minute, they were able to take the lead. In the 30th minute, Lundin caught a long ball in behind to extend Sweden’s lead to two.
Portuguese attacked Sweden’s fullbacks and enjoyed focusing on the wide zones by taking advantage of their advanced nature. They were able to make some excellent dead-ball situations as well, and Maria Miller eventually scored from one in the 76th minute thanks to a free kick and shoddy defending by Sweden. In the second half, Portugal appeared more dangerous and again succeeded in overwhelming the midfield.
Olofsson’s performance wasn’t great. She had the freedom to wander forward when playing as a midfield two, but she also had a lot of ground to cover. For a significant portion of the game, she struggled to handle Portuguese pressure. This also affected her passing, in a negative way. In the 23rd minute, she did attempt a long shot, but it was a pretty meek attempt.