Japan and Sweden players in action during their FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on Friday. AUCKLAND: Sweden held off a late Japan fightback to reach the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup for the fifth time with a 2-1 win at Eden Park on Friday, leaving the tournament without a former winner in the last four. Five days after ousting four-time champions the United States in the last 16, the Swedes dominated the 2011 title winners for most of the evening to set up a semi-final against Spain at the same stadium on Tuesday. Defender Amanda Ilestedt gave Sweden the lead with her fourth goal of the tournament in the 32nd minute with Filippa Angeldal adding the second from the penalty spot just after the break. Japan never gave up the fight but Riko Ueki missed a 76th-minute penalty and her fellow substitute Honoka Hayashi’s goal 11 minutes later proved too late as Sweden held firm under immense stoppage-time pressure to progress. The Swedes, charged with confidence after dethroning the reigning champion Americans on Sunday, tore into their opponents from the start, swamping the midfield and clearly rattling the Japanese. Sweden strike: For a team whose most potent attacking threat came from set pieces, it was no surprise that Sweden took the lead via a free kick. The Nadeshiko were unable to clear their lines as the ball pinged around the box and centre half Ilestedt buried it into the net with the fifth Swedish shot in the sequence. It was only the second goal Japan had conceded in New Zealand and the first time they had been behind but they were unable to break the stranglehold the Swedes had on them. Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani almost doubled the lead just before the break but was denied by a combination of the fingertips of Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita and the post. Yamashita was quickly in action again at the start of the second half to tip away a Johanna Kaneryd shot but Fuka Nagano handled the ball from the ensuing corner and Angeldal made no mistake from the penalty spot. Japan looked a pale imitation of the side that had romped in the quarter-finals and got their first attempt on goal in the 63rd minute. They stuck to their task, however, and had a chance to cut the deficit when Ueki was bowled over in the penalty box by Madelen Janogy in the 75th minute. The striker took the spot kick herself but was only able to clang the ball against the woodwork with her follow-up header going well over the bar. Teenager Aoba Fujino’s free kick then hit the bar and goalkeeper Zecira Musovic’s head but somehow stayed out and Hayashi lashed the ball into the net from Japan’s next attacking move to set up a frenetic final 13 minutes.