With 32 teams now whittled down to just four, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is nearing its conclusion, after almost a month of exciting competition filled with shocks and twists. The ultimate prize lies just around the corner, and they all have their eyes on it. Spain and Sweden are the most prolific of the four sides remaining, and their form has been indicative of their attacking efficiency. It’s Spain v Sweden this Tuesday at Eden Park – and a place in the final is on the line.
It’s unfamiliar ground for Spain in the semifinals, as this is the furthest they’ve ever progressed in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, La Roja have shown no signs of slowing down as they look to continue their purple patch of form. In their third outing in the competition, Spain have scored fifteen goals and conceded just six – making them the most prolific of the remaining four nations. Their attacking efficiency was on display in their impressive 5-0 annihilation of Zambia and a stunning 5-1 destruction of Switzerland. Many have attributed this efficiency to their impressive passing ability. La Roja boast 85% passing accuracy – the highest of any qualified country. It allows them to break through defences quickly and open numerous goalscoring opportunities. These impressive stats are no doubt a concern for their opponents, Sweden.
Sweden have been arguably the most impressive team in the competition this summer. Their ability was never in doubt, but few surely would have expected them to beat two World Champions on the road to the semifinals. Any country, regardless of their performance, is surely a contender for the ultimate prize if they are able to knock out the USA – and while it was victory by the slimmest of margins, the achievement was no less impressive.
It’s clear they used the result as motivation to build momentum in their subsequent fixture against Japan. Their performance against the Nadeshiko was worthy of future champions. Despite a late scare, the Blågult controlled the match throughout to demonstrate their very best. Their star player Amanda Ilestedt added to her tally to make her the highest goalscorer amongst the remaining sides, and she’ll be looking to add to it on Tuesday against Spain.
Tuesday’s clash at Eden Park will be the first meeting of these two nations at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sweden have more experience at this stage of the competition – having played in the semifinals four times previously. They’ve only managed to progress to the final once, as they went on to lose to Germany in 2003. The Blågult will be hoping to progress and go a step further to taste glory for the first time ever, while La Roja will be hoping to keep up their fantastic run with a place in the final.
Laia Codina is a doubt to start for Spain in Tuesday’s semi-final. Salma Paralluelo is expected to return to the Spanish frontline after scoring the winner against the Netherlands from the bench, while Aitana Bonmatí is expected to be fit enough to start despite sustaining a knock against the Netherlands.
Sweden have a fully fit and available squad, and are expected to start the same lineup for the third consecutive match.
Spain: Coll; Hernandez, Paredes, Ivana, Batlle; Bonmati, Abelleira, Hermoso; Paralluelo, Caldentey, Gonzalez
Sweden: Musovic; Bjorn, Ilestedt, Eriksson, Andersson; Angeldahl, Rubensson; Rytting Kaneryd, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius
Where can I watch?
Kick-off at Eden Park is scheduled for 9:00am UK time on Tuesday, 15th August 2023. The coverage will begin at 8:30am on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.