Sweden maintains perfect start
A second-half goal from Lisa Dahlkvist steered Sweden to a 1-0 victory over North Korea on Saturday and the brink of the quarterfinals at the women's World Cup.
Women's World Cup
Women's World Cup
Sunday, June 26
Group play starts for Group A - four of the 16 teams that will be taking part in the 2011 Women's World Cup, including host and defending champion Germany.
Tuesday, June 29
The United States opens their World Cup against North Korea.
Thursday, June 30
Canada faces France in a game that could determine who advances out of the Group of Death (Group A).
Saturday, July 2
The United States plays their second game, against Colombia.
Tuesday, July 5
Final rounds of group play start. Four matches per day, with group contests kicking off simultaneously.
Wednesday, July 6
The US finishes group play with the quartet's "second seed:" Sweden.
Saturday, July 9
Quarterfinals begin, to be played through the weekend.
Wednesday, July 13
Semifinals (Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach).
Sunday, July 17
The young North Korean team, which had five teenagers in its starting lineup, wilted in the second half and was eliminated from the tournament with two losses.
The United States can join the Swedes at the top of Group C - and qualify both teams for the last eight - if it beats Colombia in a later game in Sinsheim.
Sweden made the breakthrough in the 64th minute, when Linda Forsberg crossed into the middle and Therese Sjogran picked out the unmarked Dahlkvist for a simple finish from close range.
North Korea was unlucky not to equalize in the 73rd minute when Ri Un-hyang's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Sara Thunebro.
However, only a lack of finishing by Sweden's tall strikers Lotta Schelin and Jessica Landstrom prevented their side from winning by a bigger margin.
''Anyway, for me, it doesn't matter. I am satisfied,'' coach Thomas Dennerby said. ''Hopefully, we have lots of games left for the Swedish team, and they can create chances and score then.''
For North Korea, it always was going to be a tough challenge. With midfielder Kim Su-Gyong as young as 16, it faced an experienced Swedish squad which also physically towered over them.
''They are very young and haven't got a lot of experience,'' North Korea coach Kim Kwang-Min said. ''In the second half they had much less energy. They also lacked concentration and we didn't convert the chances.''
From the outset, Sweden took the game to North Korea and Schelin saw a shot in the second minute sail just wide.
The North Koreans, who had also held the United States to a goalless stalemate until the second half of their opener before losing 2-0, managed to keep a neat passing game going for an hour- but struggled to create any real chances.
The Swedes were more direct and had opportunities before halftime and just after the break, with Dahlkvist missing a clear chance on the counterattack. The North Koreans also survived a frantic goalmouth scramble in the 52nd minute, just two minutes before Dahlkvist broke the deadlock.
The only disappointment for Sweden came on the hour mark, when captain Caroline Seger was yellow-carded for a run-in with the referee and will miss now miss her team's final group game against the United States.
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Sara Thunebro, Charlotte Rohlin, Sara Larsson, Annica Svensson, Therese Sjogran, Caroline Seger, Lisa Dahlkvist, Linda Forsberg, Jessica Landstrom (77, Josefine Oqvist), Lotta Schelin.
North Korea: Hong Myong-hui; Ho Un-byol, Jong Pok-sim, Ri Un-hyang, Song Jong-sun; Kim Su-gyong (68, Kim Un-ju), Jo Yun-mi, Jon Myong-hwa, Ri Ye-gyong (84, Kim Chung-sim); Ra Un-sim, Yun Hyon-hi (80, Choe Mi-gyong).