Nilla Fischer’s statue is defaced in Sweden. Did gender equality comments touch nerve?

A day after a statue of her was defaced in Sweden, defender Nilla Fischer helped the Swedes easily defeat Thailand, 5-1, in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday.

As the United States proved last week, the result against Thailand was expected for a Sweden team possessing more talent and depth than Thailand.

Fischer was a rock in the center of defense, despite Thailand scoring a goal late in the game. And it came a day after the statue was reportedly knocked over, separating the body from the base, according to Reuters.

Fischer’s statue was one of four for Swedish players produced prior to the Women’s World Cup.

The vandalism act “raises deeper questions about gender equality in the country,” teammate Caroline Seger told Reuters.

“It illustrates very much how this initiative was completely right,” Seger told Reuters. “It’s an issue that becomes even more important and there is a need to lift all the questions around equality even more.”

Fischer, who has national team appearances dating back to 2001, was vocal a couple months ago about having better pay for female players.

“I know that if I’d played in the (German men’s) Bundesliga for six years, I wouldn’t have any financial worries,” Fischer, who played for VFL Wolfsburg last season, told Reuters two months ago. “In terms of percentages, you can’t really compare. What they maybe make in an hour, I make in a year.”

Sweden completes group play against the United States on Thursday.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.