So you don't know how to feel about Spain vs. Sweden?

If you need help deciding who you are vibing with in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal then this might help.

On Tuesday night at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, either Spain or Sweden will book a spot in the 2023 World Cup final.

Being in Sydney right now, this momentous semifinal feels a bit like it is playing second fiddle to Wednesday night’s Australia vs. England clash. A younger sibling vibe. An undercard.

In large part that is because of the tournament co-hosts. Who have galvanized a nation, and look set to break a 23-year record for television viewership.

Should the Matildas reach over 8.8 million viewers on Wednesday, then that match will become Australia’s most-watched sporting event ever. Overtaking Cathy Freeman’s 400m Olympic gold medal race in 2000.

However, neither Spain nor Sweden has ever won a World Cup. And while both are very well-thought-of nations in the game, the idea of either one making the final would be tremendously exciting.

So, if you’re unsure which way to feel let’s dig into a few reasons.

Spain’s Aitana Bonmati and Sweden’s Amanda Ilestedt | FIFA, Getty

Is there an underdog?

I wouldn’t say that either of these nations is the underdog. While Sweden has more experience and historical success, Spain arguably has the more talented squad.  You can’t really support an outsider on Tuesday.

The Southern Europeans will be playing in their first-ever World Cup semifinal. And just their second-ever international tournament semifinal of any kind. The other appearance was in the 1997 Euros, where they lost 2-1 to Italy.

2023 marks a significant improvement for Spain at World Cups. A historic run. Having never even qualified before 2015, La Roja exited at the Group Stage on their debut and then in the Round of 16 in 2019.

Sweden, on the other hand, has been tournament bridesmaids for many years now. And this match marks the fourth consecutive semifinal at World Cups and Olympic games.

At the previous World Cup, the Scandinavians were knocked out in the semifinals by the Netherlands and then beat England in the third-place playoff. That was the third time they had picked up bronze at the World Cup too.

Sweden has also reached major finals before. In 2003, they lost 2-1 to Germany in the World Cup final in the United States. This impressive World Cup run Down Under comes after back-to-back appearances in the Olympic final too. But both of those matches ended with a silver medal (against Germany 2016, Canada 2021).

It’s really a debate over whether you want a traditionally much less successful country to taste a final for the first time or would you rather see a consistent contender get another shot at a first title?

What are the team vibes like?

With Australia (understandably) drawing a considerable amount of attention, I think it’s fair to say that Sweden has gone under the radar as a pretty vibey team.

No one at this 2023 World Cup has been celebrating their victories harder than the Swedes. From the players cackling in the dressing room while zooming in on the narrow goal-line decision call against the USA, to whacking a bucket over Amanda Ilestedt and Kosovare Asllani’s heads after beating Japan.

Don’t tell Carli Lloyd, but yes, the Swedish players have been partying on the road to the semifinal.

They’re not shy about enjoying these moments and are happy to lap up every minute of their adventure in Australia and New Zealand. Their post-match jamborees have also been fueled by the 2007 Swedish number one ‘True Believer’ by group E-Type. It’s a synth-laden Scandi-pop banger that wouldn’t feel out of place at any Eurovision song contest.

It really does feel like if you get enough footballers together to clatter some objects and belt out a chorus then you are unstoppable. I respect it.

While Sweden’s dressing room has made a good case for being one of the best nightclubs in the Southern Hemisphere, Spain’s behind-the-scenes vibes feel a bit more hinged.

The ongoing beef between Jorge Vilda and a large contingent of the players must create a muted energy in the camp. After all, it has been just 328 days since 15 players revolted against the federation and the national team head coach over issues regarding treatment, decision-making, and working conditions.

Even with the majority of those 15 players putting differences aside and returning to the national team, Spain is without defender Maria Pilar Leon who would not cross the picket line for this World Cup.

If Vilda wins, do we all lose? It’s a hurdle to celebrate the immensely talented Spain players, and their historic World Cup run, without trying to praise or include the head coach.

In a press conference on Monday, Vilda was asked about the players who protested against him and returned to the fold. The weasel essentially praised the president of the Spanish federation for sticking with him and not listening to the players’ requests for change.

“I want to value the support and backing of Luis Rubiales. We have a president who reacted bravely and bet on me and my coaching staff. Congratulations on the management,” he said.

The viral clip of Vilda struggling to find someone to celebrate with after the quarterfinal win over the Netherlands was an all-time awkward football moment.

Spain’s social media quickly responded with some evidence of human contact.

And what about the football?

Stylistically this should be a fun one. You have two different approaches on how to win a match clashing head-to-head.

Sweden has excelled at this tournament by valuing off-ball contributions. Peter Gerhardsson sets up his team to relish defending and counter-pressing.

By first nullifying what the opposition is trying to do, Sweden then is adept at making the most of turnovers and counterattacks. This doesn’t always mean fast breaks, but more so making the most of territory on the pitch.

Whether that is winning duels or set pieces or giving away fouls to break up the opponents’ rhythm. Sweden has committed the most fouls (69) of any team at the 2023 World Cup.

Singing the national anthem | Swedish football association

Spain has bossed possession in the tournament, and will likely dominate the ball and the tempo of the match. This means the two key areas for Sweden to attack, when they aren’t defending, are off turnovers and set pieces.

La Roja will step higher and higher as it tries to unpick Sweden’s 4-2-3-1 shape. If the clog sustains and there’s a sloppy pass that allows Sweden to break, then it’ll be a quick release to Stina Blackstenius that might be the best move.

Unsurprisingly, Sweden’s key players have been goalkeeper Zećira Mušović and defender Ilestadt. The former is in the form of her life getting to almost everything thrown at her, while the latter has been in the right place at the right time on attacking set pieces.

Ilestadt not only leads Sweden for goals with four but is currently the joint top-scorer at the 2023 World Cup. All four of those goals came from set pieces, and Sweden has the most goals from dead ball situations at the tournament too.

Salma Paralluelo celebrates against the Netherlands | RFEF

For Spain to come away victorious it will be about sticking to their principles and being patient. It’s not going to be easy. But there’s so much quality in their team that they could pull Sweden apart eventually.

Ballon D’Or winning Alexia Putellas hasn’t been starting and neither has FC Barcelona teammate and Quarterfinal match-winner Salma Paralluelo. But maybe the duo is best utilized off the bench? Let Sweden work hard to keep the first wave of Spanish pressure at bay and then change the tempo off the bench.

Playing a 4-3-3, Spain’s frontline wasn’t efficient despite creating a haul of chances in the previous round against the Netherlands. Alba Redondo often won the first ball but couldn’t find the back of the net. Cracking the post twice and fumbling the ball into the keeper’s hands on another occasion.

Fellow forward Esther Gonzalez started both knockout matches for La Roja but has looked particularly profligate in front of goal. She hasn’t found the back of the net since Spain’s first match against Costa Rica. A goalless streak of 216 minutes where she has taken 12 attempts (three on target) and produced an xG of 1.7.

So ketchup or mustard? Steely defense versus expressive attacking flair? A group united against a distrust between a federation and its players?

It should be fun, whatever your preference.

Watch Spain vs. Sweden at 8 p.m. local time in Auckland, 6 p.m. in central Australia, 2:30 p.m. in central Asia, 10 a.m. in central Europe, 9 AM in the U.K, and 4 AM in Eastern America.