Japan And Sweden Brace For Ultimate Clash Of Styles At World Cup
The countries Japan and Sweden brace for ultimate clash of stylesat World Cup. Japan has been a pleasant surprise during the Women's World Cup, but they will be in for a rude awakening when they take on Sweden in the quarterfinals on Friday at Eden Park. Sweden plays a far different brand of soccerthan Japan does.
Japan, the only team remaining in the competition that has previously won the World Cup, has stormed its way into the last eight by scoring 14 goals in four games while only allowing one goal to be scored against them.
They are one of the few teams who have set up with three center backs, and as a result, they have been lethal on the counterattack, precise with their passing in behind the opponent defense, and clinical in the final third.
With five goals to her name, Hinata Miyazawa is now in the lead for the competition to win the golden boot. Sweden's success may be attributed to their rock-solid defense, which has also only allowed one goal to be scored against them, which came in their first game against South Africa.
Their opponents have a difficult time keeping up with them physically, and they are especially dangerous on set pieces. In the meantime, Zecira Musovic turned in what was possibly the finest performanceof any goalie at the competition as Sweden advanced to the round of 16 by eliminating the defending champions, the United States of America, on penalties.
Sweden coach told reporters on the eve of the match in Auckland:
This won't be like the physical game we had against the USA. It will be a lot more technical and fast-paced. When we get possession we will need to move the ball quickly and make the most of our physical advantage.- Peter Gerhardsson
The level of physicality displayed by each side is the aspect that most clearly differentiates them from one another. The average height of the Sweden squad that lined up against the United States was six centimeters (more than two inches) higher than the height of the Japan team that lined up for their 3-1 victory over Norway in the previous round.
At 1.78 meters (5 feet 10 inches) tall, Amanda Ilestedt, who plays center defense for Japan and has scored three goals so far, and Fridolina Rolfo, who plays forward for Barcelona, are both taller than any Japanese player.
The attitude taken by Japan is everything from muscular, in contrast to Sweden's style. They have only been called for a total of 20 fouls, which is fewer than any other side that is still alive in the competition, and they have not been shown a single yellow or red card.
The most fouls committed by any team is 58, which was handed away by Sweden.
They are fast, very aggressive and tall, so we have to be prepared to deal with that first and foremost.- Futoshi Ikeda, Japan coach
The teams played in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals in Germany, with Japan coming from behind to win 3-1 and take the championship. More relevant may be their meeting in the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, which Sweden won 3-1 before losing the gold medal match on penalties to Canada.
Japan have really refined parts of their game since then, especially their counter-attack. Now they are very quick and whenever they get the chance to go forward, they do so.- Magdalena Eriksson, Sweden's defensive stalwart