This is a recap of the last four days’ games from the Women’s World Cup.
Germany and Sweden 4-1
The knockout round kicked off with Germany looking especially German, and Sweden looking sad. A disappointing game for the ladies in blue and yellow as they were trampled by the number one team in the world, despite hopes for a contentious match. Goals for the winners came in the 24th minute from Anja Mittag, 36th and 78th from Celia Sasic. The Swedes saw the faintest glimmer of hope with a goal in the 82nd from Sembrant but the Germans responded quickly, putting a final nail on the coffin with a beauty of a goal only six minutes later from Dzsenifer Marozsan. This match made Germany look like the team to beat. They go on to face France in the quarterfinals.
China PR and Cameroon 1-0
This was a tight match on Saturday evening, despite an early goal from Wang Shanshan. In the 12th minute, Cameroon failed to clear a corner, leaving Li Dongna to set up the scoring volley with a volley herself, from just outside the six-yard box. Cameroon was clearly fighting hard to advance, possession stood at an even 50/50 but they just weren’t able to get the ball over the line to make it even. Worth noting that China got this win despite having a suspended coach who had the nerve-wracking pleasure of watching from the stands due to his actions during the China-New Zealand match. China moves on to play the US on Friday.
Brazil and Australia 0-1
Brazil and Australia made foregoing a lie-in to watch soccer well worth it. The Matildas and ever-threatening Brazilians played a thrilling match with chances on both ends of the rainy pitch. It wasn’t until the 80th minute that super-sub Kyah Simon hit pay dirt, following up on a bobbled shot from teammate Lisa De Vanna. Despite having more shots on goal and more of possession over the course of the game, it would be that one goal that be the difference. Brazil goes home uncharacteristically early and Australia advances further in the World Cup than any Australian team before them, men’s or women’s. They move on to face the winner of Tuesday’s Japan/Netherlands match.
France and Korea Republic 3-0
The loss to Colombia must have been a real kick in the pants to France because since that game they’ve come out looking their best. Sunday’s match was no exception. An experienced France showed a relatively inexperienced South Korea what they’re made of with three excellent, Arsenal-esque goals. Technically the goals game from Delie in the fourth, Thomis in the eighth, and Delie again in the 48th, but the teamwork around them really makes them feel like they were scored by the whole squad. Eugenie Le Sommer had another spectacular match, and is really a player to watch as the French move on to face Germany on Friday. If Germany made themselves look like the team to beat, France looked like a team that could dethrone Germany. We say farewell to Korea, clearly a team with a lot of heart and skill, but still some experience to be gained.
Canada and Switzerland 1-0
A roaring crowd of over 50,000 cheered on host nation Canada in their defeat of Switzerland. An all-around tight match, it was a great set-up touch Captain Christine Sinclair that led to a marvelously-placed shot and goal from Josee Belanger in the 52nd. The Swiss continued to fight, putting Canadian Keeper Erin McLeod through her paces, but her rock-solid performance and the deafening cheers from the crowd could not be overcome. As the Swiss bow out, Canada moves on to face England.
England and Norway 2-1
Two powerful teams faced off Monday, with former World Cup champions Norway falling to the Three Lionesses of England. It was a generally close but clean match. Despite both teams’ physical play, no cards were given. The first half was entirely quiet, aside from a few chances here and there. In the 54th, however, scoring opened up as the team traded header goals from corners. Striking first was Solveig Gulbrandsen, who snuck one past the keeper from the front post. Five minutes later, Steph Houghton returned the favor, coercing one over the line. The deadlock would remain until it would all be decided by a goal in the 76th, a blazing shot from defender Lucy Bronze. Bronze stepped up to a pass just outside the penalty box and sent it home like a seasoned striker. The goal came on her first shot of the tournament. England moves on to face Canada on Saturday.
USA and Colombia 2-0
It seems we’ve found a pattern with this US team of saying “It’s not a pretty win, but we’ll take it,” and that rings true again today. This match was closer than it should have been. Not to discredit Colombia’s clear efforts, but after a red card at the beginning of the second half sending in their third string keeper, goals should have been abound. Instead, we see Abby Wambach miss a penalty (from the same incident as the red card), giving her critics sufficient ammunition. Despite playing up a player, the US was only able to get two. The first was a sneaky ball from Alex Morgan slotted just past the keeper from an acute angle, nearly on the endline, in the 53rd. The second was another penalty from a foul on Megan Rapinoe, this time taken and made by midfielder Carli Lloyd.
Though it’s a win, the US loses Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday in the next match due to yellow cards and that will surely hurt when they play China on Friday.
Japan and Netherlands 7pm PT
This should be a fun match to watch. An experienced, defending champion Japan versus Netherlands, in their first Women’s World Cup ever. Netherlands has the skill to put up a good fight, but I think experience will win here for Japan, if they can avoid the physical Dutch game and control the ball on the ground.