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Japan sets up potential World Cup quarterfinal clash with USWNT

Hinata Miyazawa scored to help lift Japan over Norway. (Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The U.S. Women’s National Team faces a stiff test in the Round of 16 against Sweden. The teams last played in the group stage at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, with Sweden earning the 3-0 victory.

If the USWNT can atone for that defeat and advance to the World Cup quarterfinal, things will hardly get easier. Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s team would then play Japan, which defeated Norway, 3-1, in its Round of 16 match on Saturday.

For all of the USWNT’s struggles in the group stage, Japan was dominant, out-scoring its opponents 11-0 en route to three victories.

Japan outshot Norway, 16-8, on Saturday and controlled possession for 61 percent of the game. Hinata Miyazawa iced the game for Japan with a goal in the 81st minute, her fifth of the World Cup.

Spain was also victorious on Saturday, defeating Switzerland, 5-1. Should the USWNT advance to the semifinal round, it would play either Spain or the winner of Netherlands/South Africa. But first, Andovoski’s team needs to get past Sweden.

“For everyone who wants to see more, we promise we’re going to do everything we can,” Andovoski said. “We are preparing ourselves the best that we can to provide success and meet the expectations. But first and foremost, we want to make sure we meet our own expectations.”