For Jakobsson, her Country, and Brother
On Saturday evening in a sizzling Rennes, Sweden wrote history. For the first time in 24 years they managed to beat Germany and knock them out of a major competition. They became the first team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ to even score against the Germans and, by doing so, they booked themselves a ticket to face the Netherlands in a Lyon semi-final.
Sofia Jakobsson was the player that everyone wanted to talk to afterwards, as the scorer of Sweden’s first goal and the Visa Player of the Match. As she made her way through TV, Radio and mixed zone interviews she couldn’t hold back the emotions as she told everyone the same thing: “This was for my brother.”
The road to a World Cup is never easy and Sweden came close to missing out. In fact, it’s in ways thanks to Sofia Jakobsson that they are here at all. She scored the winning goal against Denmark that saw them top the qualification group and secure their spot in France.
That was last September and a lot has happened in Jakobsson’s life since. This winter she got a phone call that she will never forget.
“My mother told me that my brother was at the hospital in intensive care”, she told Swedish TV4 in a interview ahead of the World Cup.
Her little brother, Anders, the person she says is the most important in her life had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage after an accident and not even the doctors knew if he would wake up again.
“I just fell down into my suitcase and thought this can’t be true”, Jakobsson told TV4.
She said seeing her little brother with tubes coming out of his mouth and head, was like something you only see on TV. She would visit him in the hospital every day for twelve days, until he finally woke up. He then saw his sister and slowly took her head and placed it at his chest.
Since then the relationship between sister and brother has grown stronger than ever.
Jakobsson was only five years old the last time Sweden had managed to beat Germany at a World Cup, but going out on the pitch on Saturday night she did so having already seen her little brother overcoming an even more difficult battle. So she ran, found her way through the defence and did what no one else had managed in France: she scored against the Germans.
She did it so Sweden could rewrite history, she did it so they could reach the semi-finals and she did it so she could tell the world… “This goal was for my brother”.
Fighting tears and in-between sobs she said at her pitch side interview: “I am so extremely happy that I have been able to play at this World Cup after everything that has happened”.
That was just the first of several interviews that awaited her as she made her way into the tunnel and towards the mixed zone. In contrast to her tears, Jakobsson also showcased perhaps the biggest smile of all the Swedish players, spreading all over her face. Because after all the rough times, now it was time to smile. And smile a lot.
“I’m so happy and proud of this team. We are among the four best teams in the world – that is so big. We’ve gone far but we’re not done, we want to go even further” she told FIFA.
Next up is the Netherlands, with Jakobsson and Sweden ready to create even more history in France. For herself, for her country and for her brother.