Sweden, Spain set for clash of styles in World Cup semi-final
First-time semi-finalists Spain face a more seasoned Sweden at the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, with a final against England or co-hosts Australia the prize.
Spain and Sweden kicked off at 0800 GMT at Eden Park in Auckland in the first semi-final, before European champions England go into battle with Australia in Sydney on Wednesday.
The meeting in Auckland is a clash of styles — Spain’s superior technique and mesmerising passing versus Sweden’s more physical approach and use of dead-ball situations.
Sweden are into their third semi-final in the last four World Cups and even though they have never gone on to win the competition, confirm bet predictions Peter Gerhardsson’s side believe that experience gives them the edge.
The Swedes also reached the last four of the European Championship last summer, before being soundly beaten 4-0 by hosts and eventual winners England.
In contrast, this will be Spain’s debut in a World Cup semi-final.
“We have the benefit of experience,” betting tips 1×2 Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani said on the eve of the game at Eden Park.
“We have gone far in the last few tournaments but I am particularly pleased with the way we have done it this time.
“We have won our matches in different ways and it shows the strength of this team.”
Sweden, who dumped out holders the United States in the last 16 on penalties, bet prediction were one of only three teams to progress from the group stage with a perfect three wins out of three.
England and Japan — beaten by Sweden 2-1 in the quarter-finals — were the others.
Sweden are particularly deadly from set-pieces and in Amanda Ilestedt they have an unlikely contender for the tournament’s golden boot.
The towering Arsenal defender has four goals so far, three with her head.
Gerhardsson has lauded the team spirit within his squad, gambling saying they have the kind of togetherness usually more associated with club teams.
Whether Spain are as united has been a point of debate ever since 15 players declared nearly a year ago that they did not wish to represent their country under coach Jorge Vilda.
“We have a (federation) president who reacted bravely, who backed me and my staff,” he said on Monday.
“Now there is unity in the squad, everyone is getting on, they are ambitious and trying to enjoy every day.”
Three of the 15 rebels returned to the World Cup squad under Vilda and one of them, Barcelona playmaker Aitana Bonmati, bet prediction site has been one of the best players at the competition.
– Kerr to start? –
Australia coach Tony Gustavsson says self-belief and massive fan support could make the difference when they meet England in the other semi-final.
The co-hosts have already created history with their maiden run to the last four and are determined to keep breaking barriers and go all the way.
Gustavsson said Serena Wiegman’s world number four England would be favourites at a packed-out Stadium Australia, but cautioned the Matildas had something the Lionesses did not.
“That is the support from the fans, that itself is going to be massive tomorrow,” he said on Tuesday.
Gustavsson faces a tough decision on whether to play skipper and striker Sam Kerr from kick-off. She is yet to start a match at the World Cup following a calf injury.
When the Chelsea star came off the bench against France in their dramatic 7-6 win on penalties in the last eight, she had an immediate impact.
“She pushed through more minutes than we hoped for,” Gustavsson said.
“The way she pushed through was fantastic and impressive, both the mental and physical aspect.
“She recovered well and trained today, so she’s available.
“We will be meeting tonight to see again the best starting 11 and the best finishing 11. There will be some tough decisions.”
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