An exciting Seven´s tournament where Sweden finished fifth and their chances of qualifying for the two places in the next round of Olympic qualifying and the European Grand Prix are rather slender. Sweden started off very well on Day 1 and were certainly one of the favourites. Their play disintegrated , however, on Day 2 and they were eliminated in the quarter-final by Czechia by a single try 5 – 0. The speed and interpassing on Day 1 were gone and they had nothing left when the Czech speedster sprinted away for the only score. Another quarter-final upset was the last-minute defeat of perhaps the best-looking team on Day 1, Portugal. They dominated and led 7 – 0 at half-time but faded away after the break and let the powerful Romanians in by 14 – 7. Germany got through comfortably against a plucky Turkey and Finland were just a bit stronger than Norway. So the surprise semi-finals were Germany – Finland and Romania – Czechia. Germany were too fast for Finland but the other semi was a thriller; the Czechs who had put out Sweden played well and Romania could only get through in extra time. Germany were always in command in the final although Romania came back strongly to make it 20 – 7.-Sweden had a titanic battle against Portugal for 5th to 8th place with Rebecca more or less single handed getting them through 12 – 0. There was very little of the fluency from Day 1 although the tackling was still solid. Sweden´s final match gave a comfortable win 29 – 5 and fifth place.
When it comes to qualifying, Germany and Romania are in the driving seat while the surprise package Czechia in third place still has a chance in the second round. Portugal in 7th place is probably too far back to qualify but can still do damage by defeating some of the contenders. I doubt if Sweden can beat Germany at present but the remaining three would all present serious challenges to Sweden. If Sweden came second in the next round with Germany winning, they would only qualify if neither Romania nor Czechia were placed among the top four. Which is not very probable, but in 14 minutes anything can happen.
As mentioned after Day 1 Sweden had improved considerably since last year but for the first two games today it was back to square one. I don´t know if fitness is an issue but they looked out on their feet against the Czechs. As their interpassing deteriorated it was clear that they had no out and out sprinter in the squad. The Czechs had and it was she who sprinted away to get the deciding score against the Swedes.