Japan are favorites to go through against Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia should progress, and England need a much better performance to beat Colombia… here are our predictions for the World Cup quarter-finals.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup has already produced its fair share of shocks, extraordinary performances and exciting action.
Many feared the talent gap going into the expanded tournament, but the previously announced “smaller” nations have more than answered the call with stellar performances.
This summer’s showcase is fast approaching its crescendo as the quarterfinals kick off on Friday without defending champions USA or world No. 2-ranked team Germany.
But with the Lionesses still in the hunt after beating Nigeria in the last round, there is still every chance England can add World Cup glory to their Euro 2022 crown.
Before the ties, Mail Sport’s Mystic Meg (Kathryn Batte), who hit all EIGHT calls in the last 16, makes her picks for the last eight.
The lionesses remain in their quest for World Cup glory after beating Nigeria in the last round.
Spain v Holland
Spain brushed aside Switzerland with a 5-1 win to reach the quarter-finals, but the Netherlands suffered a more nervous 2-0 win over South Africa.
The Dutch have never played a World Cup game without Danielle van de Donk, but they must do so on Friday with the midfielder suspended. Spain have performed well against teams ranked below them, but their only real test ended in a 4-0 loss to Japan.
In that match, Spain dominated possession, but were defeated by counterattacks from Japan and the Netherlands will look to employ similar tactics. Spain boss Jorge Vilda is not as tactically astute as his counterpart Andries Jonker and this may be a deal breaker.
The Dutch have never played a World Cup game without Danielle van de Donk, but they must do so on Friday with the midfielder suspended.
EVERYTHING IS STARTING!
Japan v Sweden
Few had Japan as tournament favourites, but it’s hard to deny that they have been the best team in the World Cup so far.
They overcame Norway with a 3-1 win last time out and are the top scorers with 14 goals. Here, they face a Sweden team brimming with confidence after defeating the USA on penalties.
The Swedes, who have only conceded one goal, will sit back and thwart Japan’s passing game. But with forward Hinata Miyazawa in top form, Sweden will have their work cut out for them.
Few had Japan as tournament favourites, but it is hard to deny that they have been the best team in the World Cup.
Australia v France
Possibly the hardest match to call, this could go all the way. France started the World Cup slowly but played with style in a 4-0 win over Morocco.
Sam Kerr returned in Matildas’ 2-0 win over Denmark, but whether he is fit to start remains to be seen.
The hosts have shown they can hold their own against the best teams and be clinical in front of goal, even without Kerr. With a boisterous crowd behind them, they might just have enough to progress.
The hosts have shown that they can defend against the best teams and be clinical in front of goal.
england vs columbia
England will have to produce a better performance than the one that saw them overcome Nigeria on penalties if they are to reach the semi-finals.
Colombia is the lowest-ranked left side, but that counts for little given the upsets we’ve seen so far. The South Americans have beaten Germany and will not fear England, whose defense has kept them on their feet, but they are yet to face a team as dangerous as Colombia.
If England play to their strengths they should have enough to get through. But they can’t afford another mediocre performance.
England will have to produce a better performance than the one that saw them beat Nigeria on penalties.
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