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Japan vs Sweden betting tips: Women’s World Cup quarter-final preview, predictions, team news and odds

Japan vs Sweden odds and betting statistics

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Japan vs Sweden match preview

Most would agree that Japan and Sweden have been the two most impressive sides at this tournament but, for one, the dream will end here.

Japan are the only team at this tournament to have won four out of four so far, topping their group with maximum points, scoring 11 times and conceding none, most-notably demolishing Spain 4-0.

Then, in Saturday’s round of 16 clash, the Nadeshiko took an early lead against Norway, with Hinata Miyazawa’s cross provoking an own goal, only for Norway to equalise soon after.

Unperturbed, Japan went back in front shortly after half time, with Risa Shimizu pouncing on some calamitous defending, before, towards the end, Miyazawa burst in-behind and cooly slotted home the clincher.

Futoshi Ikeda’s teak look unstoppable now, and the Nadeshiko do have serious pedigree when it comes to World Cups, winning this competition in 2011, before reaching the final again four years ago.

So, will Japan march on into the semi-finals?

The Blågult held United States to a goalless draw in Melbourne, thanks largely to an astonishing goalkeeping performance by Zećira Mušović, who pulled off three outstanding saves.

The subsequent penalty shootout was, probably, the most dramatic you’re ever likely to see so, if you haven’t seen it already, it’s well worth your time.

For Sweden, both Fridolina Rolfö and Elin Rubensson emphatically converted, only for Nathalie Björn to sky her effort over the bar, before Rebecka Blomqvist’s attempt was saved.

This handed USA’s match-point, but Sophia Smith skewed her effort well-wide, with both Hanna Bennison and Magdalena Eriksson scoring for Sweden after that.

Kelley O’Hara then thwacked the post, presenting Lina Hurtig with the chance to win it, her effort appeared to be saved by Alyssa Naeher, before spinning, just, over the line, the goal awarded by goal-line technology.

So, after all that, the Blue and Yellows remain on course for a fifth World Cup semi-final, having reached the final itself in 2003, also picking up bronze in 1991, 2011 and 2019.

12 years ago, it was eventual winners Japan who ended Sweden’s World Cup hopes, courtesy of a 3-1 semi-final victory in Frankfurt.

But, in 2021, Peter Gerhardsson’s side did overcome the hosts at the quarter-final stage of the Olympics, en route to claiming silver in Yokohama.

This game is extremely tough to call, so those in attendance at Eden Park should prepare for a long night.

Who will be returning to Auckland for Tuesday’s semi-final clash against either Spain or Netherlands?

Japan team news

Futoshi Ikeda has really managed his squad brilliantly at this tournament so far, with teenaged striker Maika Hamano the only outfield player yet to feature.

Hana Takahashi came into defence against Norway, chosen over Rion Ishikawa, and is set to keep her place.

Winger Hinata Miyazawa is currently the top scorer at this tournament, having netted five times already.

She’s thereby become just the second Japanese player to score five at a single World Cup, after Homare Sawa in 2011, one of which was an 117th minute equaliser as her team beat USA in the final.

Predicted XI (5-4-1): Yamashita; Shimizu, Takahashi, Kumagai, Minami, Endō; Hasegawa, Nagano, Fujino, Miyazawa; Tanaka.

Sweden teams news

Zećira Mušović was a somewhat controversial pick as number one, chosen over Jennifer Falk, but she more than justified her selection against the U.S. on Sunday, named player of the match, and deservedly so.

Centre-back Amanda Ilestedt is currently Sweden’s top-scorer at this tournament, having bagged three goals from set-pieces during the group stages.

Nevertheless, Peter Gerhardsson’s squad does contain plenty of attacking talent.

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd will keep her place in attack, alongside Stina Blackstenius and Fridolina Rolfö, with both Sofia Jakobsson and last weekend’s hero Lina Hurtig both great options to have in reserve.

Magdalena Eriksson, Blackstenius and captain Kosovare Asllani were the scorers when Sweden beat Japan in the Olympic quarter-final two years ago.

Predicted XI (4-3-3): Mušović; Björn, Ilestedt, Eriksson, Andersson; Angeldal, Rubensson, Asllani; Rytting Kaneryd, Blackstenius, Rolfö.

Japan′s Women’s World Cup results & fixtures

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Sweden′s Women’s World Cup results & fixtures

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Women’s World Cup quarter-final results & fixtures

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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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