Sweden produced a magnificent performance to book a semi-final date with Spain and leave Japan’s Women’s World Cup dreams in tatters.
Japan were considered a title contender after coming through the group stage and beating Norway in the round of 16.
Here they fell behind Amanda Ilestedt’s goal before Manchester City midfielder Filippa Angeldahl doubled Sweden’s lead from the penalty spot.
Japan were awarded a controversial penalty but Riko Ueki’s 76th-minute attempt hit the bar, before West Ham’s Honoka Hayashi netted a goal in the 87th minute.
That lifeline came moments after Aoba Fujino hit the woodwork with a free kick, but Sweden saw the game end in the last four.
New Arsenal defender Ilestedt has become a player of the tournament and now has four goals.
She struck from the edge of the penalty area in the 32nd minute after Japan failed to clear.
Goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita kept Japan in the competition when she tipped an attempt by Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani over the post, while Stina Blackstenius had previously missed a glorious chance as the game was goalless.
There seemed to be no coming back for Japan when Angeldahl doubled the lead after the video assistant referee (VAR) spotted a handball from Japanese Liverpool midfielder Fuka Nagano.
Japan have shone at this World Cup, scoring 14 times in their previous four matches.
But they struggled to sufficiently test Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic at Eden Park as Sweden fell within a win of a first World Cup final since 2003, when they lost to Germany in the final in the United States.
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Rate players out of 10 during or after the game. The evaluator will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Notation range key = Give up = Sheer Perfection
- 12TakahashiReplaced byHamanoTo 90+2′minutes
- tenNaganoReplaced byHayashiTo 81′minutes
- 6suggestedReplaced byEndoTo 45′minutes
- 11TanakaReplaced byUekiTo 52′minutesBooked at 79 mins
- 7MiyazawaReplaced bySeikeTo 81′minutes
- 23RubenssonReplaced bybennisonTo 84′minutes
- 19Rytting KanerydReplaced byJakobssonTo 84′minutes
- 9AsllaniReplaced byJanogyTo 72′minutes
- 18RolföReplaced byHurtigTo 73′minutes
- Esther Staubli
Match ends, Japan 1, Sweden 2.
Second Half ends, Japan 1, Sweden 2.
Foul by Stina Blackstenius (Sweden).
Saki Kumagai (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Sweden. Corner conceded by Risa Shimizu.
Failed attempt. Maika Hamano (Japan) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right from a set piece.
Foul by Filippa Angeldahl (Sweden).
Aoba Fujino (Japan) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Replacement, Japan. Maika Hamano replaces Hana Takahashi.
Failed attempt. Kiko Seike (Japan) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Riko Ueki.
Attempt saved. Riko Ueki (Japan) right footed shot from the center of the six yard box sees his shot blocked. Assisted by Aoba Fujino from a cross.
Corner, Japan. Corner conceded by Magdalena Eriksson.
To delay. They are ready to continue.
Match delayed due to injury Zecira Musovic (Sweden).
Aim! Japan 1, Sweden 2. Honoka Hayashi (Japan) right footed shot from the center of the six yard box is close to the left post.
Aoba Fujino (Japan) hits the bar with his right foot from outside the box from a direct free kick.
Foul by Magdalena Eriksson (Sweden).
Aoba Fujino (Japan) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Replacement, Sweden. Sofia Jakobsson replaces Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.
Replacement, Sweden. Hanna Bennison replaces Elin Rubensson.
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