Following a thrilling and controversial first semi-final yesterday between England and the USA, we will find out the Americans’ opponent from our second match-up today. The U.S. weren’t necessarily dominant, but as has been the case in recent major tournaments – they again found a way to get the job done. Despite being without the surprisingly injured Megan Rapinoe in the midfield, Alex Morgan’s goal-scoring prowess continued and they’ll sit back and relax Wednesday to find out which European nation they’ll play in the Finals.
A mild surprise that this game will feature the Netherlands and Sweden. For the Dutch, many pundits recognized their supreme talent, but figured it was a case of too much, too soon for the talented Orange outfit. That said, their youth is ready and their future is now. They have been lethal with the ball at France 2019, and can score on anyone. Their Swedish opponents likely sit on the other end of the spectrum, as most figured this group was too heavy on veterans, and their better days have passed them by. Following two impressive knockout round victories over tough countries like Canada and Germany, the Swedes have proven their mettle.
Despite this being a fixture that nobody would have predicted at the outset, it has the makings for a very intriguing affair. The skill and flair of the Dutch side vs. the experience and structure of the veteran Swedes. Sweden has been here many times before, and you better believe they’d be eager to set up a rematch against the Americans after their lowly showing against them in the group stage. As always, read on below the odds for a tactical breakdown and betting pick for the Netherlands vs. Sweden in the World Cup semi-finals.
Netherlands vs. Sweden Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (+125)
Under 2.5 (-145)
Netherlands vs. Sweden Pick:
The Dutch have been dominant so far this tournament. They’ve excelled with the ball, and despite Sweden’s knack for good positional play and awareness, I think the Netherlands can really trouble Sweden with their youth, pace, and ability.
Look for the Dutch to prioritize their speed advanage with constant movement among the flanks. They have a clear ability to exploit Sweden here, and good play out wide should set-up good crossing opportunities. Netherlands possesses a stellar finisher in the talented Vivianne Miedema, who will trouble anybody among the Swedish back-line.
Sweden has also had some recent issues in defending set-pieces, another element in which the Netherlands can trouble opponents. Their runs off the ball and ability to set-up in unique and creative manners can confuse opponents, and Sweden’s plodding defense might not be able to catch up.
Expect the Swedes to sit back and try to absorb much of the pressure, adopting a bend, but don’t break philosophy to their defense. It worked vs. Canada perfectly, and they took full advantage in the second-half scoring a great goal off the counter. They are perfectly fine to play off the counter against more talented sides, and look for their opportunities.
All that said, there seems to be a certain element of luck in what Sweden has done thus far. They were outplayed by Canada and Germany, and some great timing is ultimately why they sit here today. Can they make it three fortunate outings in a row? That remains to be seen, but the thinking here is most certainly not. The Netherlands are a different beast, filled with speed and attacking flair throughout all positions. They are also one of the youngest sides at the World Cup, and I believe that many pundits didn’t quite realize how good they already are, despite many key players being so young in their careers.
Ultimately, expect a pretty conservative match despite all of the attacking quality that these groups possess. I think the Dutch will find the opening half difficult to break through, but eventually will figure out the Swedes and find a way. The Netherlands have been too solid with their own defense to get caught off-guard by a Swedish counter, and I anticipate the Dutch finding a goal to win a 1-0 game in the latter stages of the match. Either via a set-piece or a Vivianne Miedema beauty. This should set up a thrilling final!