In-form Japan set to take on Sweden in 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal

Japan have been performing exceptionally well in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with Hinata Miyazawa leading the Golden Boot race after scoring five goals in four matches. She has matched the team’s World Cup record set by Japanese legend Homare Sawa in 2011. Japan reached the quarterfinals following a 4-0 win record and have scored a team-record 14 goals. Interestingly, they have only conceded one goal in the entire tournament.

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Miyazawa, who plays for a club called Mynavi Sendai in the WE League in Japan, scored only one goal in 20 appearances last season. This time, however, her prolific scoring at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has come as a remarkable improvement in her form. She previously played in the 2016 U-17 and 2018 U-20 World Cups. The midfielder contributed to Japan’s win in the latter tournament, as she scored in the final against Spain.

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Sweden is cautious about Japan’s multiple scoring threats and appear cautious of their teamwork. The Swedish team has acknowledged that the entire Japanese team poses a threat and emphasised the importance of being prepared for threats from various players. Despite not being considered favourites, Japan’s success in this 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is part of their resurgence. After winning the 2011 World Cup, they finished runners-up in 2015 and were knocked out in the Round of 16 in 2019.

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Sweden defeated Japan in the 2021 Olympics quarterfinals, but the Japanese team is determined to showcase their strength and believes in their ability to succeed once again.

Sweden’s coach, Peter Gerhardsson, said Japan has some skilful players, and although Sweden have come close to winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the past, they have never lifted the title.

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Japan will hope their impressive performance will create an impact in the country’s domestic scene, with Miyazawa’s standout play already drawing attention during the tournament.

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