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All you need to know for Spain-Sweden at Eden Park

Author
Bonnie Jansen, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Aug 2023, 10:00am
Filippa Angeldal of Sweden celebrates the teams second goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup match against Japan. Photo by Ulrik Pedersen / DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Filippa Angeldal of Sweden celebrates the teams second goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup match against Japan. Photo by Ulrik Pedersen / DeFodi Images via Getty Images

All you need to know for Spain-Sweden at Eden Park

Author
Bonnie Jansen, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Aug 2023, 10:00am

Auckland’s Fifa Women’s World Cup swansong has arrived – Eden Park hosting the 29th and final New Zealand game tonight.

Spain and Sweden will battle it out for a spot in the final, promising one of the most competitive matches of the tournament.

The last two matches held in the City of Sails have had matching crowds of 43,217, representing the third time this tournament New Zealand’s football match attendance record has been broken.

Tonight’s semifinal will be the last chance to break that record for an unprecedented fourth time.

For those heading to the game, here’s everything you need to know.

Road to the quarters

Sweden won all three of their group matches against South Africa, Italy and Argentina. Their toughest match came in the knockout round taking on world No 1 the United States.

The Scandinavians held out against the dominant American side all the way to a penalty shootout, just managing to get over the line. Literally. Sweden scored an infamous winning penalty against the two-time defending champs, deemed a goal by just a millimetre.

They ran on the momentum after that knocking out top tournament contenders, Japan in a convincing 2-1 victory.

Their opponent tonight, Spain, lost to Japan 4-0 in the group stage after two big wins over Zambia and Costa Rica.

Although perhaps not as organised at the back as the Swedes, Spain can score goals, and lots of them.

Jennifer Hermoso of Spain celebrates with teammates after scoring against Zambia. Photo / Getty

Jennifer Hermoso of Spain celebrates with teammates after scoring against Zambia. Photo / Getty

They went on to beat Switzerland 5-1 in the round of 16, then the Netherlands 2-1 to qualify for the semi-final spot.

Head to head:

Sweden: ranked 3; Spain: ranked 6

The Swedes are at their ninth event and have finished third three times – in 1991, 2011 and 2019. Spain have only been to three World Cups. In 2019 they had their best run, reaching the Round of 16.

Both teams coming into this tournament were even contenders to go deep into the tournament.

The TAB has Spain paying $1.55 to qualify for the final and Sweden $2.28.

Sweden line up during the penalty shoot out against USA. Photo / Getty

Sweden line up during the penalty shootout against USA. Photo / Getty

Rosters:

Sweden

Goalkeepers: Tove Enblom, Jennifer Falk, Zecira Musovic

Defenders: Jonna Andersson, Nathalie Bjorn, Magdalena Eriksson, Amanda Itestedt, Hanna Lundkvist, Anna Sandberg, Linda Sembrant

Midfielders: Filippa Angeldahl, Kosovare Asllani, Hanna Bennison, Lina Hurtig, Elin Rubensson, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Olivia Schough, Caroline Seger

Forwards: Stina Blackstenius, Sofia Jakobsson, Madelen Janogy, Rebecka Blomqvist, Fridolina Rolfo

Coach: Peter Gerhardsson

Spain

Goalkeepers: Cata Coll, Misa Rodriguez, Enith Salon

Defenders: Ivana Andres, Ona Batlle, Olga Carmona, Laia Codina, Rocio Galvez, Oihane Hernandez, Irene Paredes

Midfielders: Teresa Abelleira, Aitana Bonmati, Irene Guerrero, Jenni Hermoso, Maria Perez, Alexia Putellas, Claudia Zornoza

Forwards: Mariona Caldentey, Athenea del Castillo, Esther Gonzalez, Eva Navarro, Salma Paralluelo, Alba Redondo

Coach: Jorge Vilda

Players to watch

Sweden: Zecira Musovic: The second-choice goalkeeper for Chelsea has had an unbelievable tournament. She was the main reason Sweden was able to survive the dominant United States and has saved 16 of the 17 shots on target she’s faced all tournament.

 

Sweden: Amanda Ilestedt: The 30-year-old is second in the Golden Boot race for the tournament, and she’s a centre-back. She’s scored almost half of her team’s goals, while the side has only conceded two down the other end in regulation play. This team is known for being very organised at the back, a credit to the central defenders.

Spain: Aitana Bonmati: The 2022 Uefa Women’s Champions League’s most valuable player, Bonmati has been exceptional for Spain this winter. She can control a game and create opportunities like no one else, and can equally score some cracking goals. She could be the next Ballon d’Or winner.

Aitana Bonmati of Spain celebrates as Spain is awarded a penalty kick against Netherlands. Photo / Getty

Aitana Bonmati of Spain celebrates as Spain is awarded a penalty kick against Netherlands. Photo / Getty

Spain: Alexia Putellas: Putellas became the first Spanish player to win Fifa’s Best Player and the Ballon d’Or two years in a row for her performances in 2021 and 2022. She is an all-time great, winning the Champions League twice and the Primera División seven times. Returning just recently from an ACL injury, the Barcelona midfielder will be key for Spain this winter.

Weather

It won’t be too bad for Auckland fans tonight as MetService has forecasted a partly cloudy day, with possible light showers. However, if both tourists and locals have learned anything from the past three weeks of games, the weather in this city can be quite unpredictable. Pack some warm layers and a rain jacket just in case.

Eden Park drone image July 2023. The stadium is hosting a number of matches for the FIFA 2023 women's world cup including the opening match between New Zealand and Norway. $33million upgrades have been made ahead of the tournament
picture supplied

FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE

Eden Park drone image July 2023. The stadium is hosting a number of matches for the FIFA 2023 women's world cup including the opening match between New Zealand and Norway. $33million upgrades have been made ahead of the tournament. Photo / Supplied

Finals fixtures

Sweden vs Spain: Tuesday, August 15, Auckland, 8pm (NZT)

Australia vs England: Wednesday, August 16, Sydney, 10pm (NZT)

Playoff for 3rd-4th: Saturday, August 19, Brisbane, 8pm (NZT)

Grand final: Sunday, August 20, Sydney, 10pm (NZT)

Getting around

Ticket holders to Fifa Women’s World Cup match tonight can get free public transport.

For Auckland: your ticket gets you free transport on all trains to Kingsland station, all special bus services and scheduled bus services from two hours before kickoff. To plan your journey, use the Auckland Transport Events Planner.

Fifa fan festival

free fan zone in Auckland is set up at The Cloud near Auckland’s waterfront. They’ll play the matches on a big screen along with music, entertainment, food and games.

How to catch the action

If you’re not at the stadium, the Herald will be live blogging the remaining matches on nzherald.co.nz/sport. Sky is showing the match live on Sky Sport 1. The match is also live on free-to-air on Prime and live streaming on Sky Sport Now.

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