There was plenty of talk about who would be the stand-out performer for each team this summer and which younger players would use the tournament to announce themselves. And whilst there hasn’t been a shortage of goalscorers in their early 20s/late teens who’ve already scored, Madelen Janogy’s late goal for Sweden gives Damallsvenskan renewed hope.
Having lost a high number of players to more professional teams outside of Sweden, there is a rising fear that one of the strongest women’s leagues in Europe is in for a fast demise. Looking and Linköping and, to a lesser extent, Rosengård it’s clear the effect teams like Chelsea and VfL Wolfsburg have had on the long-standing league that simply can’t keep up with the finical clout of others around Europe.
Yet in less than summery conditions in Rennes, homegrown, Piteå attacker, Janogy finally injected some vest into the match in the very last moments. Although Kosovare Asllani had already (and finally) broken the deadlock, it was Janogy’s jinking solo effort capped off with a rippingly good finish that gave Sweden a boost on a dour day. The players most expected would stand up and lead Blågult through the match against unfancied Chile, laboured and wheezed, uninspired and predictable on the pitch. The match lacked bite and intrigue, the rain delay the most interesting part (as well as a super save from Tiane Endler) until Asllani’s opener, Janogy’s goal entirely unexpected.
But as the 23-year-old scored a goal on her World Cup debut, she reminded everyone at home in Sweden that Damallsvenskan still provides one of the best environments for young players developing through the system. It’s likely that like most of her international teammates, she’ll move abroad to widen her skillset, but there will always be more players coming through, learning to play and improving themselves and the league each year.
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