Women’s World Cup Daily: Sweden stun Japan; Spain shaken but not stirred

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is in full swing, and these day by day information provide the newest reporting from across the match in addition to betting traces, what-to-watch-for data and finest reads. Check in with ESPN all through the match as we carry you the most recent from Australia and New Zealand.

The lead: Sweden stun Japan to seal progress

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The final of the previous Women’s World Cup winners have been eradicated from the competitors, that means a brand new champion will probably be topped quickly.

Sweden shell-shocked a Japan workforce that had appeared just like the match’s most dominant facet up thus far, successful 2-1 with objectives from Amanda Ilestedt and Filippa Angeldal. Riko Ueki’s controversial 76th-minute penalty hit the bar earlier than a late Honoka Hayashi strike made the rating extra respectable — and, moments earlier than, Aoba Fujino hit the bar with a free kick that rolled throughout the purpose line — but Sweden had been the higher facet, producing extra and higher possibilities.

Unsurprisingly, Sweden’s opening purpose got here from a set piece. In the thirty second minute, Kosovare Asllani lofted a free kick into the field, which goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita punched away. What adopted was 4 blocked photographs by Sweden gamers till the ball fell fortuitously in entrance of Ilestedt, who stepped in entrance of Japan’s protection to fit it previous Yamashita.

– Women’s World Cup: Landing web page | Bracket | Schedule | News

Japan did not register a shot till the twenty fifth minute, and their first shot in goal got here within the thirty second minute as they struggled to deal with Sweden’s press.

“We were talking about being close to them and keeping on pressure,” ahead Sofia Jakobsson stated afterward. “If we couldn’t win the first ball, going in for the second, and I think that worked really well in the first until we scored the second goal. Japan was growing and they put pressure on us, but I’m super proud of how the team played.”

Sweden will now face Spain within the semifinal and as Japan was the lone former champion left within the competitors, their exit implies that solely groups which have by no means received the Women’s World Cup stay. — Caitlin Murray

Sights and sounds

Spain shaken but not stirred

An earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale was recorded in Wellington at 11:53 a.m. native time on Friday — simply over an hour earlier than Spain’s quarterfinal win towards Netherlands within the New Zealand capital.

For the New Zealand-based journalists within the media centre on the stadium, the pinging of alerts on their telephones confirmed that they’d skilled a “shake,” but the FIFA workers within the room had been unaware when requested whether or not the tremor, whose epicentre was recognized within the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands, would impression on the sport itself.

The earthquake led to minor shaking in and across the stadium, and Spain coach Jorge Vilda stated that it did not distract his workforce from the problem of beating the Dutch — but he did reveal that his gamers had skilled tremors earlier than the sport.

“We were so concentrated on the game that we didn’t feel it [quake], although we felt some shakes at the hotel the day before,” Vilda stated. “The victory of Spain was the earthquake.”

Spain’s gamers reported feeling an earthquake earlier within the competitors when a 4.6 tremor shook Wellington on July 30 whereas the squad had been primarily based in Palmerston, a city to the north of the capital. — Mark Ogden



Can Spain attain Women’s World Cup ultimate regardless of inside points?

Mark Ogden reacts to Spain’s 2-1 win over Netherlands and talks concerning the points the workforce has had with the Spanish Federation.

A statue for Van der Gragt?

Stefanie van der Gragt had signalled her intention to retire on the finish of World Cup previous to the match, but the Netherlands defender might not have wished for a extra eventful ultimate recreation.

The 30-year-old Inter Milan defender scored a shocking equaliser for the Dutch after conceding a penalty for a reckless handball. And with the sport drifting towards extra-time, she nearly scored an own-goal with a mis-hit clearance that compelled goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar right into a save.

Van der Gragt’s hopes of bowing out with a World Cup winners’ medal got here to an finish when Salma Paralluelo settled the tie with an excellent solo purpose within the 111th minute. But whereas he accepts Van der Gragt’s resolution to retire, Dutch coach Andries Jonker recommended that, if she would not change her thoughts, a statue ought to be inbuilt her honour.

“She is not the best player in the world but she is maybe the best defender,” Jonker stated. “She is the kind of defender that the game just doesn’t produce anymore. I think she deserves a statue for what she has done for the Netherlands and the game. We respect her a lot, but it’s her decision. If she changed her mind, she would be welcome.” — Mark Ogden

Colombia ‘decongest’ with a dinner out

SYDNEY — Regardless of what awaits Colombia of their quarterfinal assembly with England on Saturday, Nelson Abadía and his facet live as much as his declaration following their 1-0 win over Jamaica within the spherical of 16: “We want to write history, we want to make history. It is better to make history than tell history.”

Not solely have Las Cafeteras already bested their high-water mark on this match (a round-of-16 look in Canada in 2015), they’re now the lone nation from the Americas — north or south — left standing. But historical past makers not often achieve this with out feeling an added weight of expectation, anticipation and apprehension. That’s to say nothing of the day-to-day grind that wears away on the physique and thoughts throughout prolonged time spent overseas, in camp, at a serious match. So, forward of their conflict with the Lionesses, Abadía and his facet took a break.

“After six weeks of camp, sometimes you have a match that is just mental, like this one,” he stated on Friday. “Because it is going to open the door to the best four in the world, so we needed to decongest, mentally decongest the team so they could find themselves. For a little bit of recreation, we went out for dinner, got out of the hotel routine that can also be a little fatiguing as a player and as a coach. Sometimes it can be quite difficult. We wanted to bring back the normalcy of living together, so we took a day off just to relax and now we are back. It’s not that we distanced ourselves from the match, because we got ourselves more [mentally] firm in the face of it.”

Colombia will begin as underdogs towards England at Stadium Australia, but having already defeated runners-up Germany within the group stage, neither Abadía nor ahead Mayra Ramírez appeared overawed by the European champions.

“We know they are strong, but Colombia has shown that they have talent, that they sacrifice on the pitch,” Ramírez stated. “Because of issues with fate, we had to face the champion of Europe and the runner-up of Europe,” Abadía added. “Germany was a great team and now we have to face England. This is a match that you need to play: Every match is a different story, a different plan, a different strategy, and we’re going to be working on that.” — Joey Lynch



How England can cope with out James: ‘We’re not outlined by one participant’

Beth England reacts to Lauren James’ two-match suspension forward of the Lionesses’ quarterfinal conflict towards Colombia in Sydney.

England’s journey from fish and chips to World Cup

SYDNEY — Beth England has been used within the super-sub function at this World Cup for England, and it is a “pinch me” second for the striker who used to make ends meet by working in a fish and chips store in Barnsley.

When she broke via for the Doncaster Belles within the inaugural WSL again in 2011, she did her A-levels, performed soccer and labored in a single day to fund driving classes. She’d work evening shifts on Fridays and Saturdays within the Wellington Street takeaway in Barnsley.

On Thursday, she was dealing with the media in Sydney, having performed in three of England’s 4 matches at this match, together with scoring her penalty within the Lionesses’ 4-2 shootout win over Nigeria within the spherical of 16. It’s an incredible return for a striker who compelled her approach into the squad by making a midseason transfer to Tottenham to get common soccer.

“When I look back to working in the chippy, doing a shift until 5 a.m. and clearing up drunk people’s food or alcohol bottles, I’m now playing in a major tournament. That for me is very much a ‘pinch me’ moment,” England stated. “Everyone’s story is different, everyone has got their own way in which they got here. I think it’s quite special because it’s really humbling as well that with things like that you are just a normal person but then you come to a tournament like this and think, ‘Wow, there are millions and millions of eyes watching me in these moments.’

“I believe it is particular and it is moments like that you may actually treasure in your profession as a result of you realize the place you have come from and the way exhausting you have labored to get to what you obtain.”

England’s team base is in Terrigal, a beach town north of Sydney. Along the beachfront are numerous seafood restaurants, and England is a connoisseur of which fish to go for.

“I’m in all probability a bit little bit of a fish and chip snob as a result of I do know what a superb fish is,” she said. “I do not just like the pores and skin on my fish both. If anybody wished one battering, I ought to be capable of do a superb job!” — Tom Hamilton

Matildas’ Hunt meets idol Renard

Marta’s impassioned speech before her final World Cup game saw her speak about the lack of women role models for her growing up. “We now have gamers to look as much as [in women’s football], and that will not have occurred if we had stayed nonetheless on the first hurdle we confronted,” she said.

The persistence of her generation, and previous generations, has counted for something with the current crop of players being able to list off women as their footballing heroes. One such player is Australia’s Clare Hunt, a no-nonsense centre-back. Lining up for only her 11th game in her national team career, Hunt had two defensive idols growing up: her Matildas teammate Clare Polkinghorne, and French icon Wendie Renard.

“Wendie Renard was a job mannequin for me. I noticed her composure at a younger age and wished to emulate that not directly,” Hunt told media. “I really feel like I know how that Wendie performs as a result of I used to observe her as a child. She’s an incredible athlete, centre-back, chief.”

That Renard and Hunt will now do battle — mostly at set pieces — while commanding their respective backlines is one of the signs of progress of the women’s game globally. You can’t be what you can’t see, and long may the kids of today have women to look up to on the pitch. — Marissa Lordanic



Gustavsson: If Sam Kerr is fit, she’s starting against France

Australia manager Tony Gustavsson says Matildas star forward Sam Kerr will start in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinal clash vs. France if she’s fully fit.

News of the day

  • For coach Tony Gustavsson there is no question as to what Sam Kerr’s involvement in Australia’s quarterfinal against France will look like if she is fit. “I need to be very clear right here now to say if Sam is match to play 90 minutes, she’s beginning,” Gustavsson told reporters on the eve of the side’s quarterfinal. “There’s not even a query and the workforce is aware of it. We’re speaking about Sam Kerr right here, whether or not she is able to play 90 minutes plus additional time, that is to be determined tonight. But there is not any query in any way that if she is [fit], she’s beginning.”

  • Spain teenager Salma Paralluelo made a spectacular impact off the bench to send La Roja into the semifinals for the first time. The 19-year-old Barcelona winger decided a tense quarterfinal when she scored the extra-time winner in La Roja’s 2-1 win over 2019 runners-up Netherlands. The former sprinter showcased her speed for the goal, racing up the pitch before sidestepping a defender and firing a left-footed shot that ricocheted off the post and in.

    Paralluelo made a memorable debut with the senior Spain team only last November, scoring a hat-trick in a 7-0 win over Argentina in a friendly. She had been one of Spain’s top sprinters, competing at the European indoor championships in the 400 metres in 2019, before giving up athletics to focus solely on soccer.

    “The purpose from Salma, it was sheer pleasure,” said coach Jorge Vilda. “Salma is a participant with huge potential and she or he’s not reached her finest but. She’s a really younger participant who has been coaching one yr in soccer particularly, and the very best of Salma we’ll see it sooner or later. Now she’s glorious, but sooner or later it may be a lot, rather more.”

  • England star Lauren James has been hit with a two-match suspension by FIFA for the red card she picked up against Nigeria. The length of suspension means that if England beat Colombia on Saturday then James will miss the semifinal against either Australia or France. However, the two-match ban means she will be available for the final or third-place playoff, depending on how the Lionesses fare if they reach the final four.

    James was shown a red card in the 87th minute of England’s round-of-16 match against Nigeria after she was seen stamping on Michelle Alozie’s back. England eventually got through the tricky tie 4-2 on penalties but had to manage extra time with 10 players. She could have picked up a three-match suspension — therefore ending her World Cup — but the FIFA disciplinary committee deemed the offence worthy of a two-match ban, the lower end of the scale for serious foul play.

Match previews for Saturday



Matildas have warned world they’re more than just Sam Kerr

The Far Post podcast discuss the realisation for the Matildas and other World Cup contenders that they pose a massive threat with or without Sam Kerr.

Australia vs. France: Lang Park, Brisbane; 5 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. UK

“We are not enjoying towards a workforce. We are enjoying towards a complete nation,” France coach Hervé Renard told a news conference on Friday. His side face the co-hosts in a packed stadium in Brisbane but are ready for the furor. It is worth noting that France have had 17 different starters in this tournament, and every single on-field player has featured at least once so far. That is the total opposite for the Matildas, who have hardly rotated and used minimal subs.

A lot of the prematch talk has been around the fitness of Australia star Sam Kerr, but Renard isn’t bothered. “It is not my drawback whether or not she begins or not,” he said. “We will not change our fashion. They have carried out properly with out her offensively but I’d not change any of my forwards for theirs.” Indeed, France have all their players available and Renard will keep his 4-4-2 formation to attack Australia.

Back on July 14, the hosts beat them 1-0 in a friendly just before the start of the competition but this is a complete different game. The key, maybe more than Kerr’s presence on the pitch, will be how to deal with the pressure of a World Cup quarterfinal. Concentration will be crucial, and the occasion could get the best of either team. — Julien Laurens

England vs. Colombia: Stadium Australia, Sydney; 8.30 p.m. local / 6.30 a.m. ET / 11.30 a.m. BST

England are braced for a hostile crowd when they face Colombia, as the stadium is expected to be dominated by Colombian fans. England are looking to up their game after their nervy 4-2 win on penalties against Nigeria in the round of 16, and goalkeeper Mary Earps said the “finest is but to return” from the Lionesses, but they’ll be wary of the threat Colombia pose.

Colombia manager Nelson Abadia has said his team are playing in seven World Cup finals (potentially all their games at this tournament) — this is their fifth, after winning all three of their group matches against South Korea, Germany and Morocco, then edging past Jamaica 1-0 in the round of 16. Linda Caicedo, Catalina Usme and Mayra Ramírez will be the keys once more.

England are favourites and are hoping to get the job done in normal time, avoiding the anguish of a penalty shootout. “I hope we do not have that a lot stress,” manager Sarina Wiegman said. “We’ve seen on this match not one recreation is simple for anybody. It’s so aggressive. It’s the great thing about the sport and the expansion of the ladies’s recreation. I hope it is determined earlier than that, but let’s hope it goes our approach.” — Tom Hamilton

Features of the day

After lighting up Women’s World Cup, Japan are out
Japan’s dream run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup has ended in the quarterfinals. Perhaps 2023 just wasn’t their time yet.

USWNT coach candidates to replace Andonovski after World Cup
With Vlatko Andonovski expected to leave as USWNT coach soon, who in the soccer world has the experience and track record to take the job? We break down 11 potential candidates ranging from “should name” to long shot.

Matildas steeled by experiences, thriving on World Cup roller coaster
Australia will secure a maiden World Cup semifinal berth should they defeat France in Brisbane, and their fans will re-board the emotional rollercoaster hoping for more than one more ride.

And finally …

SYDNEY — Not only is Australia’s coming quarterfinal against France the biggest game in Matildas’ history, but it’s also set to be one of the biggest sporting events the country has seen in decades.

Tickets are the most in-demand item since Taylor Swift announced she was touring Down Under, while the excitement surrounding the fixture has seen councils across the country provide a host of live sites where supporters can communally watch the match. Rod Laver Arena (home of the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam) and Sydney’s Olympic Park (which will host England’s quarterfinal with Colombia later that evening) are being transformed into impromptu watch parties.

After the Matildas’ win over Denmark set ratings records, on Wednesday free-to-air rights holders Channel 7 took the extraordinary step of moving to broadcast the game on its main channel in all of Australia’s states and territories, which, in turn, delayed the start of its flagship news bulletin. Such a move isn’t unprecedented in a sporting context; however, you can count the number of times that’s happened for football before on one hand and have fingers left over.

Perhaps most extraordinarily, the reigning overlord of the Australian sporting scene, the AFL, has moved to delay the opening bounce of its blockbuster clash between Carlton and Melbourne until 7:30 p.m. local time to aid this move. Additionally, the MCG, Perth’s Optus Stadium, and SCG, which are all hosting AFL games that day, will put the Matildas on their big screens before and after their respective fixtures. Adelaide Crows coach Matthew Nicks, whose side travels to face the Brisbane Lions at the same time as the Matildas game, remarked: “If I might, I’d be watching the Matildas as properly.” — Joey Lynch

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