Semifinalists in the 2023 Women’s World Cup: Essential Facts

Photo of Sweden win over Japan by 2:1 in the FIFA WWC2023

Sweden win over Japan by 2:1 in the FIFA WWC2023.

After enduring weeks of fierce competition in the Women’s World Cup, only Spain, Sweden, Australia, and England remain as the exclusive participants as the Semifinalists in the tournament. This presents them with the opportunity to seize the coveted trophy they have been tirelessly vying for.

Sweden’s triumph over Japan in the quarterfinals ensures that this year’s championship will crown a new victor, leaving an indelible mark in the annals of history. As they stand just two matches away from potentially claiming World Cup glory, let’s explore in-depth information about the four teams that have reached the semifinals.


La Roja.

The journey that La Roja embarked on to secure their first-ever Women’s World Cup semifinal berth has been anything but straightforward, marked by a sequence of highs and lows.

Obstacles emerged even prior to the tournament’s commencement, when 15 players chose to remove themselves from potential selection in September of the preceding year. Their reasons included worries about their mental and physical health, alongside a sense of not being adequately valued. This sentiment was mainly focused on the coaching techniques employed by head coach Jorge Vilda.

The decision from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to back Vilda led to a change of heart for six players, including Alexia Putellas, a winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award twice. Nonetheless, this choice resulted in a fractured team, even though their talent was unquestionable.

Despite the turmoil surrounding World Cup preparations, the Spanish squad exhibited no signs of being burdened during their first two matches in the group stage. They triumphed convincingly over both Costa Rica and Zambia, scoring eight goals and not conceding any.

Nonetheless, in their ultimate group stage match, La Roja received a forceful message when they experienced an unexpected 4-0 loss against Japan, sending shockwaves throughout the tournament.

Just when it appeared that Spain’s hopes in the Women’s World Cup were hanging precariously, they managed to recover their momentum. Alexia Putellas, returning after a challenging ACL injury, played a vital role coming off the bench.

They rebounded admirably, comfortably defeating Switzerland in the round-of-16. Their journey took a significant leap as they secured their inaugural semifinal spot by prevailing 2-1 against the Netherlands. During this match, teenager Salma Paralluelo netted the decisive goal in extra time.


Sweden’s path to their second consecutive Women’s World Cup semifinal – and their fifth overall – has demonstrated an exceptional level of determination. The Blågult needed a last-minute goal to secure a victory in their initial match against South Africa and triumphed over the formidable US in the round-of-16 through a penalty shootout. A defining moment occurred in the quarterfinals against Japan, where Sweden delivered perhaps their finest performance of the tournament.

Despite a late resurgence from Japan, Sweden managed to secure a 2-1 win. This unwavering determination is embodied by two standout players: goalkeeper Zećira Mušović and defender Amanda Ilestedt.

Mušović’s impact has been pivotal to Sweden’s progress to the semifinals, particularly in her remarkable display against the US, where she made an impressive 11 saves. As reported by Sky Sports, this marked the highest number of saves by a goalkeeper who maintained a clean sheet in a single Women’s World Cup game since records were initiated in 2011.

Born to Serbian parents who fled the war in their homeland, the 27-year-old initially favored table tennis over soccer during her youth, as documented by FIFA. However, her true passion emerged when she transitioned from being an outfield player to a goalkeeper at the age of 12.

Her near-legendary presence between the goalposts persisted against Japan, with a late concession being the sole flaw in an otherwise outstanding performance.

Ilestedt is embarking on an extraordinary personal journey within this tournament as well. The 30-year-old central defender found the net for Sweden’s opening goal against Japan, tallying her fourth goal of the tournament. This accomplishment positions her just a single goal behind Hinata Miyazawa of the Nadeshiko team in the competition for the prestigious Golden Boot award, bestowed upon the highest scorer of the tournament.

In recent times, Sweden has encountered heartbreak on the grandest of stages while striving to clinch a significant international championship. Notably, they reached the final of the 2003 Women’s World Cup and contended in the gold medal match in the last two Olympic Games, only to fall short. Nevertheless, they now stand presented with another opportunity to ultimately triumph over these hurdles and put their past challenges behind them.


The tournament, both on and off the pitch, has left indelible memories for the co-host nation.

The Matildas took center stage on home soil, led by the exceptional talents of Sam Kerr, a prominent figure among the world’s top players, all in front of their devoted fan base. However, their journey commenced with a challenging note as Kerr’s absence due to a calf injury impacted Australia’s initial two group-stage matches.

Furthermore, their on-field performances didn’t exude much optimism, with a narrow 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in the opener and an unexpected defeat to Nigeria in the subsequent match.

Nevertheless, embodying the spirit of tenacious tournament teams, and with Kerr’s return, Australia progressively found their rhythm within the competition.

A commanding 5-0 victory over Olympic champions Canada propelled them into the knockout phase. Subsequently, they secured a hard-fought win against Denmark in the round of 16, marking their inaugural Women’s World Cup quarterfinal appearance. Their most remarkable display arguably unfolded during the quarterfinals, as Australia stood firm against France and eventually prevailed in a riveting penalty shootout, extending their historic journey.

The team’s achievements have deeply resonated with countless Australians. FIFA revealed that an astounding 7.2 million viewers tuned in to witness Australia’s penalty shootout triumph over France – a 10% surge compared to their previous match.

The average viewership reached an impressive 3.69 million, setting a new record for the highest Australian TV sports broadcast in the past decade. Moreover, the online broadcast of the France game on 7Plus attracted 472,000 viewers, becoming the most-watched event ever in Australia.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, wholeheartedly supports the team, openly endorsing the concept of a national holiday if the Matildas secure victory in the Women’s World Cup.

“I’ve said that the state and territory leaders should consider it and I know that it’s received a pretty warm reception in most quarters,” Albanese affirmed in a radio interview with the state broadcaster ABC, responding to inquiries about calls for a public holiday.

“This is something much more than just a sporting event. This is an inspiration to young girls in particular, but also young boys.”

Now, with Kerr’s fitness concerns appearing to fade and the nation rallying in support, Australia stands on the cusp of attaining World Cup glory.



England was regarded as one of the leading contenders entering the tournament, so their advancement to the semifinals shouldn’t be overly surprising.

Being the reigning European champions, the team boasts an array of highly skilled players, and when coupled with the guidance of their world-class manager, Sarina Wiegman, this synergy has propelled them to notable accomplishments in Australia and New Zealand.

The initial phases of the campaign witnessed closely contested victories, with Lauren James standing out particularly well amidst some less than stellar early showings.

A commanding 6-1 triumph over China reaffirmed England’s stature as strong contenders. However, their performances in the round of 16 and quarterfinals – a penalty shootout victory against Nigeria following a period of being outplayed, and a comeback success against Colombia – might have exposed certain vulnerabilities within the Lionesses’ lineup.

Nevertheless, England will be without Lauren James for the semifinal against Australia due to her two-game suspension, a consequence of a red card incident involving Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie during the round-of-16 match at Brisbane Stadium.

Nevertheless, equipped with a core group featuring Mary Earps, Millie Bright, Kiera Walsh, Georgia Stanway, and Alessia Russo, in addition to impactful substitutes like Chloe Kelly and Bethany England, this England team remains a formidable contender, irrespective of their opponent.

Which squad is seen as the leading candidate to claim triumph in the Women’s World Cup 2023?

The absence of past Women’s World Cup champions has heightened the excitement surrounding the semifinals and final, contributing to an even more thrilling prospect for the upcoming matches.

Each of the four teams possesses distinct strengths and weaknesses, with no single dominant favorite emerging, in contrast to earlier years when the formidable US team held that distinction.

With merely four matches remaining in the tournament, including the third-place match involving the semifinalists who don’t advance to the final, Sweden has risen to the position of the favored contender for their first championship, according to insights from the sports data company Gracenote.

Based on around a million simulations of the entire tournament, Gracenote’s analysis indicates that Sweden holds a 32% likelihood of securing victory. Meanwhile, both Australia and England have a 24% chance, while Spain follows closely with 21%.

Presently, Sweden holds the highest rank among the remaining teams, positioned third in the global rankings. However, should they face England in the final, the Blågult might carry the recollection of their previous significant tournament encounter – a 4-1 defeat to the Lionesses in the semifinals of the 2022 Women’s Euros.

In any possible scenario, we are on the brink of a captivating culmination to what has already proven to be an exceptional World Cup.

Follow us on social media and stay connected for more!


Follow Sports 360 Degrees!

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top
Share on Social Media