Sweden magnificent performance to book a semi-final date
After a spectacular performance, Sweden booked a semi-final date with Spain and ended Japan’s Women’s World Cup dreams.
Having cruised through the group stage and defeating Norway in the last 16, Japan was considered a title contender.
After falling behind to Amanda Ilestedt’s goal, Manchester City midfielder Filippa Angeldahl doubled Sweden’s lead.
Honoka Hayashi pulled a goal back for West Ham in the 87th minute after Japan were awarded a controversial spot-kick. Riko Ueki’s 76th-minute attempt hit the bar.
Despite Aoba Fujino’s free-kick hitting the woodwork, Sweden held on to make it into the quarterfinals.
Ilestedt, who is new to Arsenal, is now one of the tournament’s leading players with four goals.
Having failed to clear the ball, she struck from the edge of the six-yard box in the 32nd minute.
The Japanese goalkeeper kept Japan in the contest by tipping a Kosovare Asllani attempt onto the post. Stina Blackstenius had earlier missed a golden opportunity when the game was scoreless.
Japanese midfielder Fuka Nagano committed a handball that was spotted by the video assistant referee (VAR) and Angeldahl doubled the lead.
In their previous four matches at this World Cup, Japan had scored 14 goals.
Despite that, they struggled to test goalkeeper Zecira Musovic enough at Eden Park as Sweden moved one win away from a first World Cup final since the United States final in 2003.
In their opening match, Sweden defeated South Africa on penalties after trailing 3-2 to the United States, and they eliminated the four-time world champions on penalties in the first knockout round.
In their attempt to reach back-to-back World Cup semi-finals, they will fancy their chances against Spain at Eden Park on Tuesday.
Gerhardsson’s players rode the crest of a wave after eliminating the USA, and they stifled a Japan side that had been scoring like crazy.
Even after Hayashi scored and Sweden negotiated the 10 minutes of extra time, Japan only came alive in the closing stages.
As they had done five days earlier against the USA, the Swedes once again ran themselves into the ground to make the semi-finals.