It is the second match of the Quarter Finals at the 2023 FIFA Womens World Cup as Japan faces Sweden. It is time to continue our Women's World Cup odds series with a Japan-Sweden prediction, pick, and how to watch.
Japan enters the quarter-finals off of a 3-1 victory over Norway. It was a dominating effort by Japan in their round of 16 games. They controlled the ball with 65 percent of possession and completed 499 passes while rarely turning over the ball. The scoring opened with Ingrid Engen's own goal in the 15th minute, but just five minutes late, Japan was scored on for the first time in the World Cup. Guro Reiten scored on a nice header that tied the game. The game was still tied at one entering the half, but Risa Shimizu scored in the 50th minute, and then Hinata Miyazawa scored her fifth goal of the tournament in the 80th minute to seal the game.
Meanwhile, Sweden won over the USA by the slimmest of margins. The United States won the possession battle and dominated in the shot department. In the 120 minutes of play, the US shot 22 times and hit the target on 11 of them. The star of the match, Zecira Musovic saved all 11 of them. With the US unable to score, and Sweden not having the most pressure on offense, the game went to penalty kicks. The US scored on their first two PKs but Sweden answered both of them. Then, Kristie Mewis hit the third straight for the US and Nathalie Bjorn missed wide right.
Megan Rapinoe had a chance to all but seal it for the US, but she missed high. After another Sweden miss, Sophia Smith had a chance to end the game, but she missed and Sweden tied it. After Alyssa Naeher and Magdalena Erickson traded goals, Kelley O'Hara hit the post. Lina Hurtig then came to the spot with a chance to send Sweden through. Naeher got a piece of it, but after a VAR review, it was determined the ball crossed the plane by roughly a millimeter and Sweden moved on.
Here are the FIFA Women's World Cup Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
FIFA Women's World Cup Odds: Japan-Sweden Odds
Japan to Qualify: -176
Sweden to Qualify: +142
Over 2.5 Goals: +125
Under 2.5 Goals: -175
How To Watch Japan vs. Sweden
Stream: Fox Sports App
Time: 3:30 AM ET / 12:30 AM PT
*Watch FIFA Women's World Cup LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Japan Will Beat Sweden
While Japan conceded a goal for the first time in these games, they were still dominant. Japan is led by Hinata Miyazawa. Miyazawa leads the World Cup with five goals so far, but she does much more than just score. She has created five chances in the games, has an assist, and his shooting has been wonderful. He has taken 12 shots in the tournament so far, with six of them hitting the target. Five of the six that have hit the target have gone in. Even more, she controls the ball well. Miyazawa has a passing percentage of 83.7 percent and only lost the ball 20 times in four games.
If Miyazawa is scoring, someone is setting her up. That someone is Mina Tanaka. Tanaka has three assists and two goals in the games while averaging 2.5 shots per game. She also controls the ball well, passing at 79.8 percent, while having 16 successful dribbles in the games. Tanaka is also great at creating chances. She has created seven chances so far in the World Cup, and when she does, it often leads to a goal.
Japan also has great pressing play in the midfield that leads to chances, especially on the counter. That is led by Aoba Fujino. Fujino has two assists and a goal in the games so far, but how she creates chances is what makes her special. She has created 11 chances so far in the World Cup, leading the team.
The defense has also been solid for Japan in these games. That is led by the combination of Moeka Minami and Saki Kumagai. Minami has 33 clearances to lead the team, while also leading the team with 25 interceptions so far in the games. She is also completing over 65 percent of her tackles. Kumagai has 25 clearances with 20 interceptions. She has done this while being successful on 60 percent of her tackles. If the defense plays like it has been, it will be tough for Sweden to score.
Why Sweden Will Beat Japan
Sweden struggled to create chances against the United States. They had just 42 percent possession while getting just one of seven shots on goal. They were heavily outshot in the game as well. The United States got 12 shots on goal out of 21, but Sweden was bailed out by their goaltender. Zecira Musovic has been great in these games. She has faced 33 shots on goal, and allowed just one goal.
Sweden has not allowed a goal since that first goal against South Africa. That means they have played the last 342 minutes without a goal being scored on them. While the goalie play has been good for them, the defense has been amazing. The most important part is Amanda Ilestedt. The central defender is involved on both sides of the ball. She is second on the team in clearances in the World Cup with 25, while she has also intercepted the ball 16 times. Meanwhile, fellow defender Nathalie Bjorn has 18 clearances and 29 interceptions. Finally, Magdalena Eriksson completed the defense with 31 clearances and 31 interceptions in the World Cup.
The key for Sweden will be getting into set pieces. They have scored four goals off of corners so far in this World Cup and created plenty of chances. Creating chances is something that Kosovare Asllani and Johanna Kaneryd have done well for Sweden so far in the World Cup. Asllani has created eight chances so far, including three in the game with the United States. Asllani is also completing 74.7 percent of her passes so far. She is skilled at crossing the ball, and Sweden will need her to get a few good chances off in this game.
Meanwhile, Kaneryd has created three chances in the World Cup. She is a focus because of the countering ability of Japan. So far in the World Cup she has completed 69.4 percent of her passes. She also has lost the ball 30 times. Japan presses at the midfield and looks to capitalize on midfield mistakes. If Asllani and Kaynerd can control the midfield, that will limit the opportunities for Japan to score.
Final Japan-Sweden Prediction & Pick
The defense for Sweden has been rock solid, but they showed some issues in the game with the US. The United States was able to capitalize on the few times the midfield for Sweden made mistakes, and it is much harder to defend against a counter than in a settled offense. The problem for the USA was they could not convert on those opprotunites. That has not been an issue for Japan. The prediction is Sweden makes one too many mistakes against Japan, and Japan capitalizes on regulation. Pick Japan over Sweden to advance, and also on the three-way moneyline.
Final Japan-Sweden Prediction & Pick: Japan (+115) and Japan to Qualify (-176)