Japan will continue their hunt for a second Women’s World Cup success on Friday, as they lock horns with Sweden in the quarterfinals. The Swedes will be full of confidence coming into this showdown after landing a huge win over the United States in the round of 16.
Women’s World Cup 2023 Preview
There’s little doubt that Japan has been one of the standout nations at the Women’s World Cup this summer. They are the only remaining nation with a 100% record in normal time at the competition, having cruised through the group stages without conceding a goal. However, their excellent defensive record was breached in the previous round, as Norway finally scored a goal against them. But, Japan were undeterred in their approach.
The Asian nation responded excellently in the second period, as Risa Shimizu put Japan back ahead just five minutes after the break. Their place in the last eight was then assured with nine minutes remaining by Hinata Miyazawa. It is the first time since 2015 that Japan have reached this stage of the competition, and they will be bidding to reach the final for third time since 2011.
Sweden were also very emphatic throughout the opening round, as they topped their group after landing three wins from three matches. However, they faced a more challenging assignment in the previous round, as they came up against the two-time defending champions in the form of the USA. Sweden defended excellently against America, and forced a penalty shootout.
The Swedes kept their cool from the spot, and eventually won a dramatic shootout 5-4. It was the first time that the nation had won a penalty shootout at the World Cup, and Sweden became one of the few nations that have stopped the USA from finding the net.
Japan vs Sweden Head to Head
This will be the 15th time that Japan and Sweden have clashed. Japan holds a narrow advantage with six victories, while Sweden has recorded five victories. Three matches have also ended in draws between these sides.
Japan vs Sweden prediction
I have been incredibly impressed with Japan throughout the tournament, and they have been one of the better nations in the final third. They could have too much quality in the attacking areas once again this weekend, and we see Japan landing a 2-1 win over Sweden to reach the last four.
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