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Sweden win third place at WWC

International Sports

ENGLANDEngland win fouth place in the WWCEngland win fouth place in the WWC had to settle for fourth place at the Women's World Cup after a frustrating loss to Sweden in an eventful third-place play-off.

A sloppy start in Nice ultimately saw the Lionesses miss out on bronze, four years after winning a medal at the competition for the first time.

Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson's goals saw Sweden take full advantage of a disjointed first-half England display, before Fran Kirby's well-taken strike put Phil Neville's side back in the game.

The Lionesses then saw an Ellen White equaliser ruled out for handball after a pitchside video review by the referee, before having the better of the second half, but they could not prevent Sweden securing a top-three finish for a fourth time.

The 2003 runners-up, who were beaten by the Netherlands on Wednesday, were grateful to defender Nilla Fischer in the latter stages for her superb headed block on the line to keep out Lucy Bronze's goalbound effort.

For England, who lost to the holders the United States in a gripping semi-final on Tuesday, a fourth-place finish represents their second-best Women's World Cup, after they were third in Canada four years ago.

Only two senior England teams have done better than finish fourth at a global tournament - the men of 1966 and the women of 2015 - with Neville's side matching the men's World Cup achievements of 1990 and 2018.

Their play improved once Chelsea's Kirby - who produced her best performance of these finals - had cut inside and halved the deficit with a good finish off the inside of the post.

With the Lionesses in the ascendancy, England's leading scorer White thought she had equalised soon afterwards. But her neat finish was ruled out after the video assistant referee officials spotted that her arm had made contact with the ball as she controlled it before using her strength to swivel and slot in low past Hedvig Lindahl.

Had she scored without the handball offence, the 30-year-old would have moved to the top of the goal standings in the race for the Golden Boot, before Sunday's final between the USA and the Netherlands.

It was the second straight game in which White saw a would-be equaliser for 2-2 ruled out after a VAR review, having been found to be fractionally offside after placing home against the USA on Tuesday.

The Manchester City striker had chances for further goals on Saturday, but her one-on-one effort was saved by former Chelsea goalkeeper Lindahl moments before half-time, and she saw another shot blocked wide in the 81st minute.

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