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Five quick hits: Spain, Sweden set up FIFA Women's World Cup semifinal date after beating Netherlands and Japan – ABC News

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Five quick hits: Spain, Sweden set up FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal date after beating Netherlands and Japan
Spain is through to the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals for the first time, where they will take on Sweden after the Blågult won a remarkable match against Japan 2-1.
That means there is guaranteed to be a new name on the World Cup trophy.
Meanwhile, a centre back could win the golden boot, Sweden super-keeper Zećira Mušović (somehow) did it again, and an earthquake rocked New Zealand/Aotearoa ahead of the matches even getting started.
Here’s the five quick hits from Friday night’s matches.
Four goals at a single World Cup is some achievement.
When you’re a centre back it’s even more impressive.
When Swedish centre back Amanda Ilestedt fired home in the first half it was the fourth time she has scored in the tournament so far — although the previous three goals have come via headers.
This one though was a genuine goal-poachers finish, pouncing on a loose ball in the penalty area and powering into the top corner after Japan failed to clear their lines. 
She now sits second on the goalscoring charts at the tournament with two matches left to play.
This extra-curricular activity is all well and good, but she and her fellow defenders have been doing their main job as well. 
For the fifth time out of five at this World Cup, Sweden have stopped the opposition from scoring in the first-half.
No other team has a record like that.
There have been four different FIFA Women’s World Cup champions in the eight-tournament history of this competition.
In this, the ninth edition, we’re guaranteed to have a fifth.
With Japan’s exit, all the previous winners of the World Cup have been eliminated.
The only remaining team to have even played in a final are Sweden, who lost to Germany 2-1 after extra time in 2003.
After their performance against Japan at Eden Park, the Swedes could be odds on to avenge that defeat two decades on. 
Despite the dramatic finale in Auckland, you’d be hard pushed to say Japan were unlucky, wouldn’t you?
After all, it took 63 minutes of the match for Japan to even muster a shot on goal.
The world will be watching as Australia and New Zealand co-host the globe’s biggest women’s sports event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In the lead-up and throughout the tournament Tracey Holmes brings you the stories and interviews that matter
Yet there is no doubt there was a degree of luck in how Sweden managed to hang on at the end.
First, Riko Ueki slammed her penalty against the underside of the crossbar, the ball bouncing down and away from danger.
That was unfortunate, but what happened soon after was just extraordinary.
Aoba Fujino fired a free kick from the edge of the penalty area against the crossbar.
Zećira Mušović dived, the ball hit her on the back of the head, flew back against the post and then rolled along the line across the face of goal and away.
Japan scored soon after, but had they not, that replay would have been shown forever as an example of how Sweden’s goal simply could not be breached.
Dutch defender Stefanie van der Gragt flagged that she would retire at the end of this World Cup, making this her final game for Die Oranje.
Only 30 years old, van der Gragt has played 107 times for the national team after a 10-year international career and will take up a coaching position with her former club AZ.
Disappointingly, it appeared her career would end with her as the villain.
It was her hand that the ball struck in the 81st minute to hand Spain the penalty that gave them a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later though, she was the hero.
Pushed forward as a last-resort by coach Andries Jonker, van der Gragt timed her run brilliantly to latch onto Victoria Pelova’s through ball and thumped the ball home to level the scores and send the game to extra time.
Spain may have gone on to win anyway, but at least van der Gragt could end her career without that handball on her conscience.
Prior to the match kicking off in Wellington there was a rumbling that had nothing to do with the 32,021 fans heading to the Cake Tin.
A magnitude-5.6 earthquake rattled Wellington an hour or so before kick-off.
GeoNet, New Zealand’s earthquake monitoring service, described the quake as delivering light shaking.
Its epicentre was to the north west of the New Zealand capital at a depth of 170 kilometres.
Perhaps a good omen for the Spanish, who head to Auckland for the semifinal against Sweden next.
According to Māori tradition, earthquakes are caused by the god Rūaumoko walking around below the Earth, so perhaps he was getting in position to watch this match too.
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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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