The Slay Ballers 2.0 – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Japan vs Sweden Match Preview

The second match of the quarterfinal stage in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is happening at the Eden Park in Australia. Coming off the back of a superb win against big fish Norway, Japan will be looking to continue their fine form with a win over the third-best team in the world in this category. Japan have, so far, been the most excellent team in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and, having won one World Cup, will be looking to capture their second trophy amid all odds in the ongoing tournament. A fact that increases the allure of this match is that both teams have played each other in this tournament competitively before now and will be continuing the rivalry at Eden Park on August 11.

Japan have played so well in the World Cup so far and confounded their critics with every consistently-solid performance. This is in no small part to their 14-goal haul which is the highest in the tournament so far, and the display of attacking midfielder Hinata Miyazawa – who was not even guaranteed a starting spot at the beginning of the tournament – has led to the Asians defying expectations at every turn and causing more fans to gravitate towards their shot at the World Cup as being the likeliest as more teams are eliminated. Japan won all three of their group-stage matches, coming out top against the likes of Zambia, Spain, and Costa Rica. They would shock the Europeans in the final group stage game at the Wellington Regional Stadium, scoring four goals without reply despite having only 22% ball possession at the final whistle. Their knockout round match went even better, as they beat the Norwegians three-one at the same stadium to qualify for the quarterfinals. They will be looking to continue their fine form against the highest-ranked team remaining at the World Cup and will be looking to go further and win their second World Cup.

The Swedes, on the other hand, have been a pillar of consistency while being excellent also, as they won all their group-stage matches, scoring nine and conceding just one against South Africa in their opening match. They then met the United States in the knockout round and needed penalties to record a win and a pass to the quarterfinals, despite being outplayed in almost every aspect in that match. Goalie Zecira Musovic should be given much credit, saving eleven shots against the top-ranked Americans and sealing their quarterfinal spot after a nervy penalty shoot-out. Head coach Peter Gerhardsson will surely be thanking his stars for the close shave and will be hoping for a better performance against Japan, who do not know how to stop scoring at the moment.

Amanda Ilestedt will be leading from defence for the Swedish, looking to capitalise on corners – she has scored from three corners in this tournament – and increase her goal record, while Fridolina Rolfo and Stina Blackstenius will be leading from attack to change their fortunes and try to bring the title home for the Europeans. Hinata Miyazawa will look to extend her goalscoring form and probably the chance to win the Golden Boot in this match. Note that Japan met Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics two years previously and lost, despite arguably being the better team.

Japan are surely favourites according to form, but Sweden’s world ranking will surely count for something, so we are probably in for a match where each team will be playing for their country, and for their lives. Get your popcorn ready and ensure you do not miss any second of this scintillating match on Friday.

The Slay Ballers 2.0 – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Japan vs Sweden Match Preview

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