Women’s World Cup: Japan defeats Sweden, 3-1, to play U.S. in final
Two goals by midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi and another by veteran playmaker Homare Sawa earned Japan a stunning 3-1 victory over Sweden in the semifinals of the Women's World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, on Wednesday night.
The Japanese team, which eliminated defending champion Germany in the quarterfinals, will play the U.S. in Sunday's final in Frankfurt.
The Americans defeated Japan twice in friendly matches in the U.S. in the spring, but Coach Nori Sasaki's team has grown considerably in skill and confidence since that time.
Wednesday's victory came after the Swedes, previously unbeaten and untied, had taken the lead on a 10th-minute goal by forward Josefine Okvist.
But Japan tied it up nine minutes later on Kawasumi's first goal. Two goals in a five-minute second-half spell, first by Sawa in the 60th minute and then by Kawasumi in the 64th, destroyed Swedish hopes.
Sweden will play France in the third-place game on Saturday in Sinsheim, Germany.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Japan's Homare Sawa, top, celebrates with teammates after scoring the eventual game-winning goal in the 59th minute against Sweden. Credit: Matthias Schrader / Associated Press