Today at the World Cup: Spain and Sweden set up semi-final clash

Today At The World Cup: Spain And Sweden Set Up Semi-Final Clash
A controversial game in Wellington saw Spain reach the last four for the first time.
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By PA Sport Staff

Spain and Sweden became the first sides to reach the World Cup semi-finals on Friday.

The two sides will meet in the last four after Spain beat the Netherlands 2-1 and Sweden overcame Japan by the same margin.


Here, the PA news agency takes a look at a tense day of action and what is in store in the remaining two semi-finals.

Spanish history

A controversial game in Wellington saw Spain reach the last four for the first time.

VAR was a main talking point with Esther Gonzalez’s effort for Spain disallowed for offside on review.


Referee Stephanie Frappart then overturned her decision to give Netherlands a penalty before VAR intervened again to give Spain a spot-kick for Stefanie van der Gragt’s handball.

After all the controversy, teenage winger Salma Paralluelo came off the bench to score Spain’s 111th-minute winner.

Super Sweden

WWCup Japan Sweden Soccer
Sweden players celebrate their 2-1 World Cup quarter-final victory over Japan. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/AP. 


Sweden outplayed Japan to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the fifth time.

Amanda Ilestedt’s close-range finish and Filippa Angeldahl’s penalty put them in full control six minutes into the second half.

Japan did mount a late revival with Riko Ueki sending a penalty against the crossbar and fellow substitute Honoka Hayashi firing home three minutes from time.

But a Japan equaliser would have been an injustice and Sweden rightfully took their place in the last four once again.


First-time winners guaranteed

WWCup Japan Sweden Soccer
Japan’s World Cup exit means there will be a new champion in the 2023 edition in Australia and New Zealand Photo: Abbie Parr/AP. 

The exit of 2011 World Cup winners Japan means a new name will be carved on the trophy.

Four-time winners the United States were also beaten by Sweden in the previous round, while two-time champions Germany failed to make it out of the group stage.

Norway, the only other country to win the Women’s World Cup back in 1995, were beaten in the last 16.

As well as Spain and Sweden, Australia, France, England and Colombia are still in the hunt for a first World Cup triumph.

England – and Becks – expects

Wimbledon 2023 – Day Three – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
David Beckham’s advice has inspired England’s Lionesses at the World Cup. Photo: John Walton/PA. 

The Lionesses head into their quarter-final clash against Colombia with the pre-tournament words of former England captain David Beckham ringing in their ears.

Forward Alessia Russo revealed how “heartthrob” Beckham had boosted Sarina Wiegman’s squad before their departure for Australia and New Zealand.

“He was really nice. It was a pinch-me moment in terms of what women’s sport nowadays has done,” Russo said of the pre-World Cup chat.

“It was amazing actually. He has been one of my idols – and heartthrobs – ever since I was a little girl.”

Post of the day

Quote of the day


What next?

World Cup 2023 Quarter-finals. Photo: PA Graphics. 

Quarter-final: Australia v France (0800)
Quarter-final: England v Colombia (1130)

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