Connect with us

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Sweden and Spain gear up for ‘high pressure’ World Cup semi-final

Published

on

FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Spain Training - North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand - August 14, 2023 Spain's Teresa Abelleira with Olga Carmona during training REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

The penultimate stage of a major tournament is familiar territory for Sweden and although they have failed to clear that hurdle several times recently, that strong pedigree could serve them well against Spain in their Women’s World Cup semi-final.

The two teams will vie for a spot in the final at Auckland’s Eden Park on Tuesday, setting up a showdown in Sydney with either co-hosts Australia or European champions England for the chance to be crowned a first-time World Cup winner.

“It’s going to be a high-pressure Spain and high-pressure Sweden,” Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson said. “For me, it’s lovely football.”

Sweden are the highest-ranked nation remaining – at world number three – and are appearing at their fifth World Cup semi-final. They have played in all nine editions but only reached the final once, when they lost to Germany in 2003.

The Scandinavians have not won a major trophy since the inaugural 1984 Euros, when only four teams took part. They also reached the semi-finals of last year’s Euros and the 2019 World Cup, and have been runners-up at the last two Olympics.

Advertisement

Sweden won all three group games this tournament and dispatched two World Cup winners – the United States and Japan – in the knockouts. They will be confident of continuing that momentum against Spain, who have never reached the last four of the showpiece tournament.

“We have the benefit of experience,” captain Kosovare Asllani said. “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.”

Spain’s only previous semi-final appearance at a major tournament was at the 1997 Euros. They made their World Cup debut in 2015 and their best result prior to this tournament was a last 16 exit four years ago.

After seeing off 2019 runners-up Netherlands, they are now one win away from a first final, less than a year after 15 players staged a revolt against long-serving coach Jorge Vilda and threatened to quit if he was not fired.

Advertisement

Spain are winless in 11 meetings against Sweden – none of which were at a World Cup – and have lost seven of those games. The teams drew 1-1 in a friendly last October in Cordoba.

“If you don’t feel any nerves before a game like this then something is not right,” veteran forward Jenni Hermoso said. “It gives you goosebumps thinking about how close we are to the final … Spain will come out more determined than ever.

“We have worked so hard to get here … I want the whole team to enjoy it and for the whole of Spain to be behind us.”

-Reuters

 

Advertisement

 

 

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

Published

on

The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

Advertisement

Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

Continue Reading

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

Published

on

Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

Advertisement

The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

Continue Reading

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

‘It shall be showers of goals’, vows Flamingos ahead of Liberia clash

Published

on

Head Coach Bankole Olowookere is confident that the Nigeria U17 girls, Flamingos, will not take their feet off the pedal when they take on their Liberian counterparts in a FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying match in Abuja on Friday.

“We are battle-ready for the match on Friday. The girls are raring to go because they want to go to the World Cup. They are already dreaming of flying to the Dominican Republic.

“There is so much excitement in camp, and they are self-assured. However, I have warned them that it is never over until it is over. There should be no display of over-confidence on the pitch. We must approach the match like the first leg was a drawn game.”

Nigeria won the first leg 4-1 in Monrovia on Sunday, with 11-goal qualifying series revelation Harmony Chidi, Shakirat Moshood, Peace Effiong and substitute Blessing Ifitezue banging in the goals for the Flamingos. The hosts got their consolation goal off a penalty awarded with five minutes left of the encounter at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The Flamingos will take part in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup for the seventh time once they cross Friday’s hurdle.

Advertisement

They featured at the inaugural edition in New Zealand in 2008, and subsequently at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Azerbaijan 2012, Costa Rica 2014, Jordan 2016 and India 2022, where they won the bronze medals.  

Continue Reading

Most Viewed