Girls’s World Cup semi-finals: Why Sweden are favourites to overpower Spain | Soccer Information

Sweden have battled by means of penalty shootouts, goal-line clearances, and VAR controversy to make it to the Girls’s World Cup semi-final.

On Tuesday, they are going to have the possibility to show why they need to go one additional in opposition to a Spanish aspect who have been one of many first groups in Europe to qualify regardless of their off-field drama.

But, whereas Jorge Vilda’s group have scored 15 targets in 5 video games within the event to this point, there was a obvious blip within the streak with a 4-0 defeat to Japan.

Sky Sports activities’ Maryam Clark explores why the ‘Blagult’ could have no concern looking for out these flaws…

A fluid system with fluid gamers

This summer time, Sweden have alternated between 3-4-3 and 4-3-3, giving them goal and drive on the counter.

Blink, and also you may miss them switching from defence to assault, often with an outspoken No 10 – both Kosovare Asllani or Fridolina Rolfo – main the road.

Stretching opposition defences with complicated, interchangeable types is a norm – gamers should not afraid to slide out and in of form.

Their 2-1 victory over Japan was an ideal microcosm of that.

Sweden players celebrate after Amanda Ilestedt scored the opening goal during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Japan and Sweden at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
Sweden have impressed on the World Cup to this point, however can they go all the best way to the ultimate?

Nathalie Bjorn slipped out of the again line and into the midfield, disrupting Japan’s plans to show over the ball in central areas.

The Everton defender often performs as a right-back for her membership however was comfy filling a number of squad positions.

That is what makes Sweden so harmful as a collective unit. You aren’t so certain the place gamers may find yourself, however one factor is for certain, adaptability shouldn’t be an issue.

Spain know their most well-liked possession-based fashion of soccer will solely maintain for some time. In the event that they’re to win this recreation, they are going to want just a few completely different methods up their sleeves.

Expertise in abundance

From entrance to again, the variety of aim assists, and appearances rack up into the a whole bunch.

Zecira Musovic has spent a season coaching beneath Emma Hayes’ cautious tutelage. She is Sweden’s first-choice goalkeeper however has Hedvig Lindahl – probably the most skilled participant within the squad – as her understudy.

The Chelsea goalkeeper put in a game-changing efficiency in opposition to the USA, together with her half within the tense penalty shootout.

Sophia Smith is denied by goalkeeper Zecira Musovic
Zecira Musovic has been imperious all through the World Cup for Sweden

Lindsey Horan, Alex Morgan, and Sophia Smith have been thwarted by the impressed stopper, whose heroics ensured the sport went the Swedes’ approach.

Then in defence comes former Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson. She’s a five-time Girls’s Tremendous League winner, has racked up 100 caps for her nation, and is essential to the success of her nationwide group.

She is simply as important on the counter, and had 4 involvements in open-play, shot-ending sequences in opposition to Japan.

In midfield, Asllani and Rolfo have the oldest participant on the nationwide group as their anchor in Seger, who has amassed over 230 appearances and is probably going enjoying in her closing World Cup.

The one caveat for the 38-year-old is that she’s been confined to bench minutes whereas rehabilitating from a calf damage.

Happily, up entrance, Lina Hurtig, Stina Blackstenius – and, at instances, Amanda Ilestedt – have sufficient expertise from enjoying in prime European leagues to pave over that crack. It is going to actually present encouragement for Arsenal followers heading into the brand new WSL season.

Spain's Salma Paralluelo celebrates scoring the winner
Spain beat Japan within the quarter-finals to arrange a semi-final tie with Sweden

However will it’s sufficient to take them one step additional than they’ve ever been earlier than? Swedish girls’s soccer author Mia Eriksson thinks so.

“I do not need to jinx something as a result of no recreation is straightforward whenever you’ve come this far in a World Cup,” she mentioned.

“However proper now, Sweden seems to be like Sweden once more – able to tackle any opponent with their tactical flexibility and talent to alter no matter is required to interrupt down and disturb their rivals.”

The ‘Fridolina Rolfo‘ issue

No person’s been speaking about Rolfo at this event, which looks like against the law, provided that Sweden’s attacking patterns supply again to her.

The Barcelona star received a continental treble together with her membership as her preparation for the World Cup and has by no means actually stopped delivering on the massive stage.

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Barcelona got here again from 2-0 all the way down to beat Wolfsburg within the Girls’s Champions League closing to say their second European title

Peter Gerhardsson’s freed up a dynamic function within the Swedish line-up, and she or he stuffed it by serving to her group finish the USA’s ‘threepeat’ hopes.

In opposition to Japan, Rolfo continued her tirade by peppering Yoshimi Yamashita’s backline within the build-up to Ilestedt’s aim and inflicting defensive disarray.

Can Spain maintain her at arm’s size or from stitching the ball to the interchangeable entrance three? It’s a tall order.

As one of many first defenders out of possession, the 30-year-old can dismantle opposition counters and recycle the ball again towards her team-mates.

Contemplating that Spain wrestle with a low, compact block, she may very well be very important in selecting the lock to their defence.

How will Sweden line up in opposition to Spain?

Musovic is the first-choice goalkeeper, and she is going to possible have a powerful again 4 in entrance of her, made up of Jonna Andersson, Eriksson, Ilestedt and Bjorn.

Elin Rubensson and Filippa Angeldal might type the midfield, which leaves Asllani, Rolfo, Blackstenius, and Johanna Kaneryd to fill the attacking 4.

What’s the schedule?

The primary semi-final between Spain and Sweden can be performed on August 15 in Auckland, with the opposite semi-final between Australia and England happening on August 16 on the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which can then host the ultimate on August 20.

A 3rd-place play-off can be performed the day earlier than the ultimate on August 19 in Brisbane.