Spain Power Through to FIFA WWC Semi-Final Round

In an intense quarter-final match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Spain and Netherlands battled it out for a spot in the semi-finals on Friday, 11 August.

With both teams displaying impressive form throughout the tournament, expectations were high for an entertaining and closely contested game. Ultimately, it was Spain who emerged victorious with a 2-1 win after extra time.

The match started with both teams showing attacking intent from the kick-off. Spain dominated possession in the opening minutes, putting the Dutch defence under pressure. In the 16th minute, Spain came close to opening the scoring, with Alba Redondo forcing a save from the Dutch goalkeeper. The Netherlands struggled to create chances in Spain’s penalty area, with the Spanish defence remaining resolute.

As the game progressed, the Dutch started to find their rhythm and began to create opportunities in the final third. However, it was Spain who took the lead in the 35th minute, with Esther Gonzalez and Alba Redondo combining to put La Roja ahead. The goal was initially celebrated but was later overturned after VAR ruled that Gonzalez was marginally offside. The match remained goalless heading into halftime, with Spain deserving to be in front based on their dominant performance.

The second half started with a near-miss from Spain, as Gonzalez’s shot narrowly missed the target within 15 seconds of kickoff. Spain continued to dictate the tempo of the game, displaying quick passing and excellent use of space. The Netherlands responded by keeping possession and trying to limit any Spanish advances. In the 61st minute, the Dutch were awarded a penalty after Lieke Martens was brought down in the box. However, VAR intervened and the penalty was overturned.

As the clock ticked down, both teams pushed for a decisive goal. Spain was awarded a penalty in the 78th minute after a handball by the Dutch defender. Mariona Caldentey stepped up to take the penalty and calmly slotted it into the bottom right corner to give Spain a valuable 1-0 lead. 

The Dutch fought back and equalised in the 90+2nd minute, with Stefanie van der Gragt scoring a crucial goal. 

The match headed into extra time with the score tied at 1-1.

In the first half of extra time, Spain made some substitutions to freshen up their lineup, while the Dutch also made changes to find a breakthrough. It was Spain who capitalised on a counterattack, with 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo racing down the left channel to score a sensational goal and give Spain a 2-1 lead in the 111th minute. 

Despite their efforts, the Dutch were unable to find an equaliser, and Spain held on to secure their spot in the semi-finals.

The match was a display of high-quality football, with Spain ultimately emerging as deserving winners. Their attacking prowess and solid defensive performance showcased their potential as tournament favourites. The Netherlands fought valiantly but fell short in their quest for a World Cup semi-final berth. Spain’s victory sets up a tantalising semi-final clash with either Japan or Sweden.

Dominant Sweden Prevail Over Japan

In a highly anticipated quarterfinal match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Japan took on Sweden at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. 

Japan, coming off a convincing 3-1 victory over Norway in the previous round, faced a Sweden side that had eliminated the defending champions, USA, in a thrilling penalty shootout.

Both teams came into the match with strong performances in the tournament and were ranked among the top teams by FIFA. Sweden, ranked third in the world, took an early lead in the 32nd minute when Amanda Ilestedt scored from a free kick. 

Japan, ranked 11th, struggled to create clear-cut chances in the first half and were largely contained by Sweden’s solid defence.

In the second half, Sweden continued their dominance and extended their lead in the 49th minute through a penalty converted by Filippa Angeldahl. 

Despite a missed penalty by Japan’s Ueki in the 76th minute, they managed to score in the 87th minute when Hayashi found the back of the net, giving them a glimmer of hope for a comeback.

As the match progressed into injury time, Japan pressed for an equaliser, but Sweden’s defence held firm. There were tense moments as Japan continued to attack, but Sweden managed to weather the storm and hold on to their 2-1 lead until the final whistle.

Sweden’s victory secured their place in the semi-finals, where they will face Spain, who won against the Netherlands in their quarterfinal match. It was a tense and thrilling encounter, with Sweden dominating the first half and Japan fighting back in the second half. Despite Japan’s valiant efforts, Sweden’s defensive resilience proved too strong to overcome.

The quarterfinal match between Japan and Sweden showcased the high level of competition in the Women’s World Cup and provided a thrilling spectacle for football fans worldwide.

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