- Spain v Sweden
- Tuesday August 15 2023, 03:00 EST
- At Eden Park, Auckland
Sweden is the only one of the four remaining teams to play in a World Cup final and it looks like a good pick to reach that stage again this year.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks, Spain is the strong favorite to win the first of the World Cup semi-finals this week. The team is rated as a +108 chance to beat Sweden, while the draw is priced at +224 and Sweden is the underdog at +285. In the second semi-final, England is priced roughly at +130, with the draw at around +220 and Australia the +240 underdog.
|Spain v Sweden
MTS World Cup Semi-Finals Betting Briefing
The first thing to note about these games is the significant time difference between Australia and New Zealand and the US. The first semi-final, in Auckland, will be played at 20:00 on August 15, New Zealand time, which is 03:00 in EST. The second semi-finals, held a day later in Sydney is slightly lighter in EST time, and has an 05:00 kick-off.
We also know that this year there will definitely be a new name on the World Cup trophy. Of the four remaining finalists, Sweden is the only nation to have reached a World Cup final, back in 2003, but it lost to Germany on the Golden Goal rule, which is no longer used in knockout games.
Spain v Sweden, 2023-08-15
Spain is the big favorite going into this game, and it has put in some impressive performances so far in the tournament. It scored eight goals without reply against Zambia and Costa Rica in the Group Stage and thrashed Switzerland 5-1 in the Round of 16, before grinding out an extra-time win over the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
Yet for all the talent in the Spanish squad, the team has shown vulnerability at times, most notably in its final Group game, in which it was beaten 4-0 by Japan, a result that saw it finish second.
That vulnerability could be a problem as the team plays in its first-ever major semi-final, against one of the most experienced teams in the tournament. Sweden reached the 2003 World Cup final, and is a four-time semi-finalist. It also reached the semi-final stage at the Olympics in 2021 and last year’s European Championships, and this experienced squad will not be overawed by the occasion.
Sweden came through its Group Stage with the minimum of concerns, winning all three games without conceding a goal, and then knocked out the USA and Japan, two of the strongest teams in the tournament, in consecutive rounds. It has still conceded only one goal in normal time across five games, and with its ability to score crucial goals from set pieces, Sweden looks like an excellent bet to win this game and reach the final for the second time.
England v Australia, 2023-08-16
England is the overwhelming favorite to win the World Cup, and with its nemesis the USA already knocked out, its chances have increased significantly.
The problem for bettors who want to wager on England is that the reigning European Champion is a very short price to win both the tournament and its semi-final clash against Australia, and all of the value at this stage lies with its semi-final opponents.
Australia has had a drama-packed run to the semi-finals. It lost to Nigeria in its second game, yet still topped its Group, beat Denmark in the Round of 16, then had to endure a nail-biting semi-final penalty shootout against France to make the final four. England’s progress has been similarly bumpy, as it was taken to penalties by Nigeria in the Round of 16, and fell behind to Colombia in the quarter-finals.
In world ranking terms, Australia is the clear underdog. It is ranked tenth in the world, and had never been beyond the quarter-finals of a World Cup going into this tourmament, although it did reach the semi-finals at the last summer Olympics.
Crucially, however, it has home advantage, and while that isn’t always a huge factor in women’s soccer, the home crowd has clearly lifted Australia at times in this tournament, and will be at their most passionate and intense for this game.
Australia also has the confidence boost of victory over England the last time that these teams met, in a friendly in April. While England is a strong and resilient team, and a fair favorite, it has not been the most impressive team in the tournament so far, and Australia has little to fear going into this game.