Sweden defeated former champions Japan to secure semifinal spot against Spain in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

On Friday, Sweden held on to defeat Japan 2-1 and advance to the Women’s World Cup semifinal against Spain thanks to goals from Filippa Angeldal and Amanda Ilestedt.

Centre-back At Eden Park in Auckland, Ilestedt scored shortly after the half-hour mark to give Sweden a just lead and send Japan trailing for the first time in a World Cup match.

 

Before Japan attempted a comeback, Angeldal made it 2-0 from a penalty seven minutes into the second half. Riko Ueki missed a penalty kick, and Honoka Hayashi pulled one back with three minutes remaining in regulation.

Then, despite a late downpour, Sweden managed to reach the semifinals for the third time in the previous four World Cups.

Following the United States, Germany, and Norway out, the 2011 champions Japan are the last remaining victor, and after next weekend’s final in Sydney, a new name will be engraved on the trophy.

Sweden, who finished second in 2003, must defeat Spain in a semi-final on Tuesday in Auckland if they are to advance. Spain overcame the Netherlands 2-1 on Friday in Wellington.

This matchup between a smooth, clinical Japan and a more hard-hitting, aggressive Sweden was hailed as the ultimate collision of footballing philosophies.

The opponents, who sat back in a 5-4-1 out of possession but were rarely afforded the chance to surge forward on the counterattack as they had done to such deadly success in previous rounds, were put under pressure by Peter Gerhardsson’s Swedish team.

Japan had begun to hope for a run to match their incredible victory in 2011, but instead they were ousted by the same team that had defeated them in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics two years prior.

Following a set-piece, the opening goal was scored in the 32nd minute, exactly the situation when the Japanese were predicted to struggle against their more physically dominant opponents.

A free kick was awarded after the Nadeshiko failed to clear their lines, and when Magdalena Eriksson, the center back partner of Ilestedt, had her shot blocked, the ball fell to Ilestedt to score into the roof of the net.

With Hinata Miyazawa, the current leading scorer with five goals, currently out of the competition, Ilestedt, who recently signed with Arsenal, is surprisingly a candidate for the golden boot.

ALSO READ | Spain defeated Netherlands 2-1 to reach FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Semi-finals

Miyazawa had little impact on this contest, and captain Kosovare Asllani‘s attempt was deflected onto the post by Ayaka Yamashita‘s outstretched fingertips just before halftime.

Two minutes after the restart, the Japan goalie made another excellent stop to deflect a Johanna Kaneryd attempt for a corner.

The second goal, though, was the result of the corner. After a review, the referee determined that the Liverpool player had committed a foul when the delivery from the right side struck Fuka Nagano‘s fist in her own box.

Rohit
Rohit
Meet Rohit Sarkar, a passionate football and cricket enthusiast, who transformed his ardour for the sports into a successful seven-year career as a sports journalist. With a keen eye for detail and a deeply ingrained understanding of the beautiful games, Rohit’s expertise has been captivating audiences across a myriad of leading sports websites. Rohit embarked on his journey as a sports writer in 2016, initially writing for local sports publications. His profound knowledge, combined with an ability to weave compelling narratives around players, teams, and matches, swiftly captured the attention of a broader audience. His journey has since seen him contribute to some of the most well-respected sports news platforms globally. What truly sets Rohit apart is his exceptional ability to dissect both football and cricket games. His comprehensive analyses cover the full spectrum - from the technical tactics on the field, player performance, to the captivating stories behind the scenes. His pen brings to life the exhilarating emotion and the nail-biting tension inherent in both sports. The core of Rohit's work lies in his devotion to the sports he grew up adoring. He seamlessly translates his understanding of the game dynamics, honed over years of avidly watching and playing, into his writing. His pieces are deeply rooted in authenticity and respect for the games, qualities that endear him to his readers. Despite the significant difference between football and cricket, Rohit has managed to bridge the gap and cater to the fans of both sports. His work exhibits a deep understanding of the intricacies of the sports, balanced with a storytelling flair that keeps readers engaged and enlightened. Today, Rohit Sarkar is a trusted name in the world of sports journalism. His thought-provoking articles and in-depth analyses continue to be featured across multiple high-profile sports platforms. Through his powerful words, Rohit continues to bring sports lovers closer to the heart of the games they cherish. Rohit is more than a sports writer; he is a storyteller, and most importantly, a passionate fan. He does not just report the sports; he lives and breathes them, bringing his readers along on the journey, one article at a time.

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