Japan 1-2 Sweden: World Cup semi-finals beckon as Arsenal and Man City stars score

11 August 2023 0 By Total Football News

Sweden produced a magnificent performance to book a semi-final date with Spain and leave Japan’s Women’s World Cup dreams in tatters.

Japan were seen as title contenders after gliding through the group stage and defeating Norway in the last 16.

Here, they fell behind to Amanda Ilestedt’s goal before Manchester City midfielder Filippa Angeldahl doubled Sweden’s lead from the penalty spot.

Japan were then awarded a controversial spot-kick, but Riko Ueki’s 76th-minute attempt hit the bar, before West Ham’s Honoka Hayashi pulled a goal back in the 87th minute.

That lifeline came moments after Aoba Fujino hit the woodwork from a free-kick, but Sweden saw the game out to make it into the last four.

New Arsenal defender Ilestedt has emerged as one of the players of the tournament, and she now has four goals.

This time she struck from the edge of the six-yard box in the 32nd minute after Japan failed to clear.

Goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita kept Japan in the contest when she tipped an attempt by Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani onto the post, while Stina Blackstenius had earlier missed a glorious chance when the game was goalless.

There looked to be no coming back for Japan when Angeldahl doubled the lead after the video assistant referee (VAR) spotted a handball by Japan’s Liverpool midfielder Fuka Nagano.

Japan had shone at this World Cup, scoring 14 times in their previous four matches.

But they struggled to test goalkeeper Zecira Musovic often enough at Eden Park as Sweden moved to within one win of a first World Cup final since 2003, when they lost to Germany in the final in the United States.

Sweden turn on the style

Sweden needed a last-minute winner to defeat South Africa in their opening game, while they trailed the United States 3-2 on penalties before eliminating the four-time world champions in the first knockout round.

They have shown hunger and desire to reach back-to-back World Cup semi-finals and will fancy their chances against Spain back at Eden Park next Tuesday.

Peter Gerhardsson’s players were riding the crest of a wave after eliminating the USA and they successfully stifled a Japan side who had been scoring goals for fun.

Japan only came alive in the closing stages and, even after Hayashi scored, Sweden negotiated the 10 minutes of additional time.

After playing 120 minutes against the USA five days earlier, the Swedes once again ran themselves into the ground to deservedly book a semi-final spot.

One step too far

Japan have shown they can counter-attack and cut through opposition defences at pace throughout the tournament.

Yet this was one step too far for the Nadeshiko.

They looked a pale imitation of the side that had reached the quarter-finals in style, and got their first attempt on goal in the 63rd minute.

Despite a strong ending, hopes of reaching a third World Cup final in their most recent four attempts were extinguished by an impressive Sweden.

Japan have been great entertainers at this tournament and many of their players were inconsolable at the full-time whistle.

The exit of the 2011 world champions means there will be a new World Cup winner.

Despite disappointment at going out, Japan boss Futoshi Ikeda concentrated on positives after the match.

“I saw my players grow at this World Cup,” he said. “The younger players have to use this experience and take it into the Olympics and other tournaments.

“Going forward we have to grow from this.”

Player of the match

IlestedtAmanda Ilestedt

with an average of 8.81


  1. Squad number13Player nameEndo

    Average rating


  2. Squad number20Player nameHamano

    Average rating


  3. Squad number14Player nameHasegawa

    Average rating


  4. Squad number12Player nameTakahashi

    Average rating


  5. Squad number16Player nameHayashi

    Average rating


  6. Squad number1Player nameYamashita

    Average rating


  7. Squad number9Player nameUeki

    Average rating


  8. Squad number11Player nameTanaka

    Average rating


  9. Squad number7Player nameMiyazawa

    Average rating


  10. Squad number10Player nameNagano

    Average rating


  11. Squad number15Player nameFujino

    Average rating


  12. Squad number3Player nameMinami

    Average rating


  13. Squad number17Player nameSeike

    Average rating


  14. Squad number2Player nameShimizu

    Average rating


  15. Squad number4Player nameKumagai

    Average rating


  16. Squad number6Player nameSugita

    Average rating



  1. Squad number13Player nameIlestedt

    Average rating


  2. Squad number1Player nameMusovic

    Average rating


  3. Squad number16Player nameAngeldahl

    Average rating


  4. Squad number11Player nameBlackstenius

    Average rating


  5. Squad number23Player nameRubensson

    Average rating


  6. Squad number9Player nameAsllani

    Average rating


  7. Squad number18Player nameRolfö

    Average rating


  8. Squad number19Player nameRytting Kaneryd

    Average rating


  9. Squad number2Player nameAndersson

    Average rating


  10. Squad number6Player nameEriksson

    Average rating


  11. Squad number8Player nameHurtig

    Average rating


  12. Squad number14Player nameBjörn

    Average rating


  13. Squad number20Player nameBennison

    Average rating


  14. Squad number10Player nameJakobsson

    Average rating


  15. Squad number7Player nameJanogy

    Average rating




Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Yamashita
  • 12TakahashiSubstituted forHamanoat 90+2′minutes
  • 4Kumagai
  • 3Minami
  • 2Shimizu
  • 10NaganoSubstituted forHayashiat 81′minutes
  • 14Hasegawa
  • 6SugitaSubstituted forEndoat 45′minutes
  • 15Fujino
  • 11TanakaSubstituted forUekiat 52′minutesBooked at 79mins
  • 7MiyazawaSubstituted forSeikeat 81′minutes


  • 5Miyake
  • 8Naomoto
  • 9Ueki
  • 13Endo
  • 16Hayashi
  • 17Seike
  • 18Tanaka
  • 19Moriya
  • 20Hamano
  • 21Hirao
  • 22Chiba
  • 23Ishikawa


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Musovic
  • 14Björn
  • 13Ilestedt
  • 6Eriksson
  • 2Andersson
  • 16Angeldahl
  • 23RubenssonSubstituted forBennisonat 84′minutes
  • 19Rytting KanerydSubstituted forJakobssonat 84′minutes
  • 9AsllaniSubstituted forJanogyat 72′minutes
  • 18RolföSubstituted forHurtigat 73′minutes
  • 11Blackstenius


  • 3Sembrant
  • 4Lennartsson
  • 5Sandberg
  • 7Janogy
  • 8Hurtig
  • 10Jakobsson
  • 12Falk
  • data-reactid=".2ci6tryctb6.$include-$panel-0.$$7PO448395">15Blomqvist
  • 17Seger
  • 20Bennison
  • 21Enblom
  • 22Schough
Esther Staubli

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Japan 1, Sweden 2.

Second Half ends, Japan 1, Sweden 2.