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Sweden beats Australia 3-1 to reach semifinals

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

AUGSBURG, Germany (AP) Lotta Schelin scored one goal and set up another Sunday as Sweden beat Australia 3-1 to reach the semifinals at the women's World Cup.

After setting up Therese Sjogran for the opening goal in the 11th minute, Schelin pushed the lead to 3-1 in the 52nd to set off the players' traditional Swedish dancing celebrations.

Schelin capitalized on a poor back pass from Kim Carroll and took one touch past goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri before slotting the ball into the unguarded net.

"There is a fantastic atmosphere in our team and we pulled each other through," said Schelin, the player of the game.

The result means Sweden also qualifies for the London Olympics next year.

Sjogran set up Lisa Dahlkvist for Sweden's second goal in the 16th in front of 24,605 fans, before Ellyse Perry briefly gave Australia hope with a stunning effort in the 40th.

Japan upset host Germany in another quarterfinal and will play Sweden on Wednesday. Brazil plays the United States in Sunday's other quarterfinal.

"Now we have to concentrate on winning against Japan. We don't have very good memories of playing against them," Sweden coach Dennerby said. "Our players will work hard to go one step further."

Appearing in its first quarterfinal, Australia started cautiously against the 2003 runner-up and was almost caught out as Schelin missed a chance in the sixth minute when she failed to capitalize on a weak back pass from Servet Uzunlar.

Barbieri had to react to punch Sara Thunebro's cross away from the approaching Schelin shortly afterward, but the Sweden striker made her mark minutes later.

After great work on the left wing, Schelin took the ball past Perry before cutting it back for Sjogran, who beat Barbieri at the near post.

Sjogran, playing in her 172nd game for Sweden, was blocked from close range minutes later.

Australia threatened only from set pieces and its defense couldn't deal with the intelligent running and quick passing of the Swedish attack.

Five minutes after the first goal, Dahlkvist rose unopposed to head in Sjogran's cross from close range.

Josefine Oqvist could have made it 3-0 in the 21st, but she was unable to direct Schelin's cross on target. Schelin then fired over the crossbar as Sweden continued cutting through the Australian defense.

Australia tried hard to find a response but was let down by the final ball more than once. A free kick in the 32nd came to nothing after Heather Garriock sent an errant cross to where nobody was waiting.

Caitlin Foord's persistence earned a corner, however, and when the ball came to Perry on the edge of the area, her shot into the top left corner gave Australia a lifeline before the interval.

Schelin took it away again, taking advantage of a terrible back pass at the second time of asking to make the game safe.

"Unfortunately, we made too many simple mistakes," Australia coach Tom Sermanni said. "After their last goal it was extremely difficult."

Despite the setback, Australia tried to rally again - Kyah Simon heading wide, and De Vanna dragging her shot - but it simply didn't have the quality nor experience to deny Sweden another semifinal appearance.

"We're very satisfied," Dennerby said.

Updated July 10, 2011

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