AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) – Sweden first knocked off the United States after which bounced Japan to snag a spot within the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup.
The Swedes, the World Cup runners-up in 2003 and three-time third-place finishers, eradicated beforehand unbeaten Japan 2-1 in Friday’s quarterfinal. With Japan out of the match, this yr’s World Cup will crown a first-time winner.
The sold-out crowd at Eden Park, the place Sweden will play within the semifinals on Tuesday in opposition to Spain, danced to songs by Swedish rock band Abba because it was performed all through the stadium after the win.
Amanda Ilestedt scored a first-half purpose and Filippa Angeldal transformed a second-half penalty to offer Sweden the gentle upset and ship the Swedes to the semifinals for the fifth time.
“Obviously we were very happy with the win against the U.S., but we knew we had to recharge and think about Japan,” midfielder Kosovare Asllani stated. “We knew we were going to play a very skilled and technical team, and we didn’t want them to have a lot of time on the ball, because that’s when they’re the best.”
Japan had been so prolific with 14 targets in rolling to a 4-0 match document, however the Japanese struggled for a lot of the sport to maintain up with the taller Swedish workforce. When Sweden went up 2-0 late within the second, Japan appeared out of the match.
But the Japanese lastly made a late comeback and significantly pressured Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic, who was recent off a World Cup-record 11 saves within the win over the United States.
Riko Ueki’s penalty try for Japan within the 76th minute hit the crossbar and bounced away from the purpose, however Musovic was lastly crushed within the 86th minute when substitute Honoka Hayashi’s penalty lower Sweden’s result in 2-1.
That was all of the Japanese mustered as Sweden superior to play Spain, which beat the Netherlands 2-1 in further time earlier Friday. Japan had crushed Spain 4-0 in group play.
Saki Kumagai, enjoying in her fourth World Cup and Japan’s captain, was in tears with the remainder of her teammates following the loss.
“We fought so hard because we wanted it,” she stated. “We want to go to the next round, of course. We will come back stronger.”
Japan’s exit means there might be a first-time winner at this World Cup. Japan received in 2011, and former winners Germany, Norway and the United States had been all eradicated earlier within the match.
Ilestedt broke by way of for Sweden within the thirty second minute off a free kick that ricocheted among the many gamers in entrance of the purpose earlier than touchdown at her ft for the purpose. It was the defender’s fourth of the World Cup.
“I thought, `I’m just going to put it away now,'” Ilestedt laughed. “So that was a great feeling.”
Angeldal added the penalty kick within the 51st minute after Fuka Nagano’s handball within the field was confirmed by video assessment.
Japan’s run within the World Cup ended with 15 targets, greater than any workforce left within the match. Hinata Miyazawa completed with 5 of these targets to guide the Golden Boot race, matching the workforce document set by Homare Sawa in Japan’s 2011 title run.
“The team grew and the players grew out of this World Cup. We were able to demonstrate that on the world stage, which is a fact. We also lost this match, which is also a fact. But the players, their work at this World Cup, is something that we need to assess positively,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda stated.
Sweden was driving excessive after eliminating the two-time defending champion Americans on penalties following a scoreless draw on Sunday. The victory got here by simply millimeters, when goal-line know-how confirmed that Lina Hurtig’s try crossed the road earlier than it could possibly be saved by American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
Japan, No. 11 within the FIFA rankings, earned a spot within the quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Norway.
The sport was a conflict of types from the beginning: third-ranked Sweden was extra bodily whereas Japan was extra technical. Sweden dominated possession for a lot of the match and had the higher probabilities.
Angeldal’s penalty appeared to rattle the Japanese, who struggled in opposition to the taller and extra athletic Swedes. Japan did not get a shot off till the 63rd minute. Japan had scored not less than twice in every of its earlier video games, however had by no means come again from down two targets in World Cup play.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Sweden eradicated Japan on dwelling soil within the quarterfinals. Sweden superior to the gold medal sport however misplaced to Canada.
The Swedes have by no means received a title at both the World Cup or the Olympics.
By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer
Source: Courthouse News Service