Photo Credit: Alex Grimm – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Sweden produced a fine quarter-final performance to overcome 2011 champions Japan and set up a semi-final date with Spain in Auckland next week.

Having eliminated favourites and four-time champions USA in the round of 16, Peter Gerhardsson’s side faced an impressive opponent in Japan – scorer of 14 goals in their four matches up to this point.

Amanda Ilesdtedt gave Sweden a crucial first-half lead when she lashed home from close range after Japan failed to clear their lines from a set-piece. The Nadeshiko struggled to wake up and despite a half-time substitution, fell further behind after Filippa Angeldal converted from the spot after a VAR check concluded that Fuka Nagano had handled in the box.

Japan got their own penalty chance after Riko Ueki was clipped in the area. Ueki herself took the responsibility from 12 yards but smacked her effort off the underside of the bar and Sweden survived.

A grandstand finish was guaranteed however when Honoka Hayashi was left unattended and side-footed home from 8 yards out. Despite their persistent pressing however, an equaliser couldn’t be found and the last remaining previous winners of the competition head home.

Japan: 1 (Honoka HAYASHI 87′)
Sweden: 2 (Amanda ILESTEDT 32′, Filippa ANGELDAL (P) 51′)

HT: 0-1

Salma Paralluelo 111th minute winner made history for her side as Spain progressed to the semi-finals for the first ever time at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Mariona Caldentey’s 81st minute penalty – given after a VAR check for handball just inside the area – looked to have ensured Spain would advance after the 90 minutes but a stoppage game equaliser from Stefanie Van Der Gragt kept Dutch hopes alive and sent the first quarter-final at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ into extra-time.

Spain, who had eased their way into the quarter-finals following a resounding victory over Switzerland in the round of 16, were dominant in possession and chances created and almost came to rue their wastefulness in front of goals after Van Der Gragt’s late intervention.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – AUGUST 11: Spain players celebrate the team’s first goal scored by Mariona Caldentey (obscured) during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Quarter Final match between Spain and Netherlands at Wellington Regional Stadium on August 11, 2023 in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Teenage sensation Paralluelo however stole the show with a late piece of magic. Collecting the ball in the inside-left channel, she created space for herself with a deft step-over before drilling her effort in off the far post, leaving Daphne Van Domselaar with little chance.

Spain will now face Sweden in the first semi-final, to be played on Tuesday evening at Eden Park, Auckland.

Spain: 2 (Mariona CALDENTEY (P) 81′, Salma PARALLUELO 111′)
Netherlands: 1 (Stefanie VAN DER GRAGT 90’+1′)

HT: 0-0