Sweden's records tumble on night of sorrow
It was a night of mixed emotions for Sweden's national women's football team as new goal scoring and appearance records were set in a 1-2 defeat to Germany which began with a one minute's silence for Klas Ingesson.
The friendly played at Behrn Arena in Örebro was a warm-up for next summer's women's World Cup in Canada. It was also the arena where Klas Ingesson made his debut for the men's senior national side in a friendly 25 years ago.
Pia Sundhage's team wore black armbands as a mark of respect and a minute's silence was held before kick-off to honour the 46-year-old hero of the 1994 World Cup, who died from cancer earlier this week.
"It was like being slapped in the face. Pang, boom," said Sweden's coach Sundhage about when she heard the sad news. "It was a good reminder of what life is all about, she said to tabloid Aftonbladet.
Therese Sjögran who made a record 200th international appearance, said that the defeat and the news of Klas Ingesson's death had tempered her celebrations.
"There was another focus this evening than what we had thought of yesterday. For me personally, it came as a shock because I did not think he was so bad. One thinks of his family and at his club Elfsborg. It's tough," said Sjögran to Aftonbladet.
Another record breaker, striker Lotta Schelin, who surpassed Hanna Ljungberg's all-time goalscoring record on the night, also said that the squad was affected by the news.
"Who has not sat and followed the World Cup 94? Klas was a big part of it and I have some amazing memories of him. He has been a giant profile in Swedish football and what has happened is very tragic," she said. And continued: "But somewhere we had to try to be strong as a group, focus on the task and win for him instead."
The match had been billed as a chance for Sweden to gain revenge over Germany for the semi-final defeat at the European Championships but it was not to be, even though Pia Sundhage's team took the lead through Schelin, whose 73rd International goal put her into the record books as Sweden's all-time top scorer. Dzsenifer Marozsan equalised with a free-kick and Alexandra Popp hit the winner for the visitors.
"It's annoying to let in two goals. We played well against the European champions. At times we have a passing game that makes you yearn for the World Cup, and we have an aggressive defense game that is high class," said Pia Sundhage.