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Japan 1-2 Sweden: Angeldahl books semi-final spot in thriller
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Sweden’s Filippa Angeldahl scored the winning goal (Abbie Parr/AP)
Sweden’s Filippa Angeldahl scored the winning goal (Abbie Parr/AP)

Sweden booked a semi-final spot at the Women’s World Cup with a tense 2-1 victory over Japan in Auckland.

Arsenal defender Amanda Ilestedt and Manchester City midfielder Filippa Angeldahl, from the penalty spot, rewarded a dominant Sweden display but Japan mounted a grandstand finish to leave the contest in the balance.

Honoka Hayashi halved the deficit three minutes from time after fellow substitute Riko Ueki had crashed a penalty against the crossbar.

But 2011 World Cup winners Japan could not make 10 minutes of stoppage time count and Sweden will now play Spain, 2-1 winners over the Netherlands earlier in the day, for a place in the World Cup final.

There was a strong representation from the Women’s Super League with nine players – three from Japan and six Sweden players – plying their trade in England.

Japan were out to avenge their quarter-final defeat to Sweden at their home Olympics in Tokyo two years ago.

Sweden controlled possession during a cautious opening from both sides but were unable to fashion opportunities until the 25th minute.

Saki Kumagai failed to cut out Nathalie Bjorn’s searching 40-yard pass and was relieved to see Stina Blackstenius fire wide.

Japan responded instantly as Risa Shimizu darted down right to deliver a dangerous cross that neither Hina Sugita nor Golden Boot leader Hinata Miyazawa could profit from.

The deadlock was broken after 32 minutes when Sweden took the lead from a goalmouth scramble.

Ayaka Yamashita’s punch did not clear the Japan box and Magdalena Eriksson had three stabs at it before the ball fell for Ilestedt to lash home her fourth goal of the tournament.

It was the first time Japan had fallen behind in the competition and Sweden remained in control, with Angeldahl testing Yamashita twice from distance.

Sweden went even closer in between as Yamashita produced a fine save at full stretch, tipping Kosovare Asllani’s swerving 20-yard shot onto a post.

The second half started as the first had finished with Johanna Kaneryd forcing another diving stop from Yamashita before VAR intervened to Sweden’s advantage.

Fuka Nagano was adjudged to have made her body bigger after handling Ilestedt’s flick on from a corner and Angeldahl comfortably converted from 12 yards.

Japan – who had scored 14 goals in four games to reach this stage – finally created some pressure, with Aoba Fujino and Yui Hasegawa off target with half-chances.

Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic was belatedly brought into action for the first time after 70 minutes, tipping Fujino’s low effort around a post.

Japan suddenly had momentum and they were awarded a 74th-minute penalty when Madelen Janogy was harshly adjudged to have tripped Ueki, whose effort thudded against the bar.

Sweden somehow survived again when Fujino’s free-kick hit bar and post and struck Musovic on the back, but substitute Hayashi pounced on an Eriksson error to set up a thrilling finale.

Musovic made another save from Ueki to guarantee Sweden reaching the semi-finals for the fifth time at nine World Cups.

Japan’s exit means there will be a new World Cup winner in Australia and New Zealand.


Women's World CupSwedenSweden WJapanJapan W
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