Sweden clinched third place at the Women's World Cup for the third time after they exposed England's defensive frailties in a 2-1 bronze-medal match victory.

Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson scored inside the opening 22 minutes at Allianz Riviera, where the Lionesses failed to recover from a slow start despite Fran Kirby pulling a goal back just after the half-hour.

Ellen White was denied the record of being the first player to score in six consecutive matches in the same tournament when a VAR review deemed she used her arm to control the ball before putting it in the net and Sweden locked the gates thereafter.

Karen Carney, who announced her decision to retire from football before the game, came on as a second-half substitute but there was to be no fairy-tale ending for her or for England.

England were pinned back from the outset and came undone when Alex Greenwood's poor clearance fell to the feet of Asllani, who rattled home a low drive that found the net despite Carly Telford getting a hand to it.

Telford made a good near-post save to deny Jakobsson but was powerless to prevent the Montpellier winger from curling a shot into the far corner after England's defenders allowed her to dribble into the box unchallenged.

Kirby revived a lacklustre Lionesses' performance when she powered into the area and drilled beyond Hedvig Lindahl moments before White had an equaliser disallowed for handball – the Golden Boot-chasing striker thwarted by a VAR review as she was in the semi-final defeat to the United States.

Julia Zigiotti Olme fired a low shot from 20 yards that tested Telford mid-way through a quieter second half that saw Sweden sit deep and defend their lead while England began to tire.

Neville sent on Carney for her 144th and final England appearance 17 minutes from time, while Nilla Fischer's brilliant goal-line clearance prevented Lucy Bronze from taking the game into an additional period.

Sweden forward Sofia Jakobsson has an added motivation to reach the Women's World Cup final this week having told her brother she would be playing for him when he was comatose at Christmas.

The tournament in France was not at the forefront of Jakobsson's mind when she was informed her little brother Anders had been in an accident that meant he was in an induced coma.

She visited him every day for almost two weeks until Anders awoke, and it was her brother she was thinking of when she scored as the Swedes shocked Germany to book a semi-final clash with Netherlands.

"I had a really hard Christmas at home, my brother fell on his head and was in a coma for 12 days and they needed to operate," Jakobsson explained at a press conference on Tuesday.

"When he was laying there in the coma I told him I would play this World Cup for him.

"So, it was why I dedicated that goal for him. He's recovered really well. He showed me that he is really strong.

"I talked with him just before the last game. He said that he's really happy for the team and for me. He said that I should go out and play the soccer that he knows I can.

"He said hopefully we will win against Germany and we did, so he was really happy after the game."

Jakobsson has a personal reason to cherish being with her national team in France too having missed the Euros two years ago with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

"I kind of felt quickly after my injury that my knee was working really well," she added.

"I didn't have pain. Of course, it took me some time to find my level to get confidence back and also confidence in your knee that it's really strong.

"Right now, I feel really great to be here with this fantastic team and we have played really good football also. I am happy."

Sweden have reached a World Cup final before and are only one place below Netherlands in the world rankings, though they are not dealing with the same level of expectation as Oranje following their Euro 2017 triumph on home soil.

Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema suggested they were burdened by such belief they would win it all in France, but she thinks they have now started to rediscover the form they showed two years ago.

"At the Euros no one expected a lot for us and once we started winning our country stood behind us and we just kind of got into that flow," she said.

"We came here and in Holland everyone said, 'Oh, they will be world champions'. That gave us a lot of pressure. The first couple of games we didn't always play the best football, but we still got nine points in the group. We're still in the semi-finals right now. I think you can say we're back in that flow."

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