Read the full story on SportsLook - Sweden Eliminates Japan in Women's World Cup Quarterfinals
Things can change in a hurry at the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Nadeshiko Japan entered its quarterfinal clash with Sweden riding a wave of positivity from four previous victories in the 32-nation tournament (outscoring Zambia, Costa Rica, Spain and Norway 14-1 to reach the final eight).
Sweden, meanwhile, carried the mental boost of knocking off two-time defending champion United States in a penalty shootout in the round of 16.
Something had to give in their quarterfinal showdown on Friday, August 11 at Eden Park in Auckland. World No 3 Sweden took the lead in the first half and never trailed en route to a 2-1 victory over Japan.
Sweden, the highest-ranked team still competing in either New Zealand or Australia (cohosts of the tournament), advanced to the Women's World Cup semifinals for the fifth time.
Eleventh-ranked Japan struggled to create chances on offense against its taller opponent. The official game stats will show that Japan didn't take its first shot until the 63rd minute.
It was a clear sign that Sweden's diligent preparations focused on dictating the match had paid off.
After the match, Sweden midfielder Kosovare Asllani shared details about the team's game plan against Japan.
"We knew we were going to play a very skilled and technical team. And we didn't want them to have a lot of time on the ball, because that's when they're the best," Asllani said, according to The Associated Press.
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Author: Ed Odeven