Predictions: How will the 2015 Women’s World Cup play out?


The Women’s World Cup is just two days away and now is the time to start studying the schedule and make your final predictions for how things will pan out up in Canada.

[ NEWS: Latest on Women’s World Cup

Favorites Germany, France, Japan and the U.S. will get plenty of votes but could a dark horse like England, Norway or even hosts Canada win it all this summer?

Our expert friends over at Equalizer Soccer give you the run down on how they think things will play out in Canada.

Over to you…

Jeff Kassouf’s predictions

Group A
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Canada 3 2 0 1 5 3 2 7
Netherlands 3 1 0 2 4 3 1 5
New Zealand 3 0 1 2 2 3 -1 2
China 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 1
Group B
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Germany 3 3 0 0 14 1 13 9
Norway 3 2 1 0 6 3 3 6
Cote d’Ivoire 3 1 2 0 1 8 -7 3
Thailand 3 0 3 0 0 9 -9 0
Group C
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Japan 3 3 0 0 9 0 9 9
Switzerland 3 2 1 0 4 3 1 6
Cameroon 3 0 2 1 1 6 -5 1
Ecuador 3 0 2 1 0 5 -5 1
Group D
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
USA 3 2 0 1 6 3 3 7
Sweden 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 7
Nigeria 3 1 2 0 3 4 -1 3
Australia 3 0 3 0 3 7 -4 0
Group E
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Brazil 3 2 0 1 5 2 3 7
Spain 3 1 0 2 3 2 1 5
Korea Republic 3 0 1 2 3 4 -1 2
Costa Rica 3 0 2 1 1 4 -3 1
Group F
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
France 3 2 0 1 10 3 7 7
England 3 2 0 1 7 2 5 7
Mexico 3 1 2 0 4 8 -4 3
Colombia 3 0 3 0 2 10 -8 0

Advancing in those scenarios are: Canada and Netherlands from Group A; Germany, Norway and Cote d’Ivoire from Group B; Japan and Switzerland from Group C; USA, Sweden and Nigeria from Group D; Brazil, Spain and Korea Republic from Group E; France, England and Mexico from Group F.

Round of 16: Canada over Korea Republic, Germany over Nigeria, Japan over Cote d’Ivoire, USA over Mexico, Netherlands over Switzerland, Brazil over Sweden, France over Spain, Norway over England

Quarterfinals: France over Germany, USA over Netherlands, Japan over Brazil, Canada over Norway

(Yes, I think France is that good and yes, I know they have a habit of chocking on the big stage. Winning the group clearly sets up quite nicely for the United States. I see Brazil getting past Sweden in the Round of 16 but falling to Japan. And while Canada is not a top-four team in the world, the path sets up nicely for the hosts to make the semifinals.)

Semifinals: France over USA, Japan over Canada

(Canada’s run comes to an end and there will be no fairy-tale finish. France finally gets over the hump and defeats the United States to reach the final.)

Final: France over Japan

(France has all the pieces in place to win this tournament. Les Bleues are in top form, but the road will be a tough one. No World Cup has ever been won without a tough victory or two

Dan Lauletta’s predictions

Predictions are fun, until the tournament begins and most of them go wrong.  But remember, they are only predictions.

Group A
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Netherlands 3 1 0 2 5 3 2 5
Canada 3 1 0 2 5 4 1 5
China 3 1 0 2 3 2 1 5
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 1 5 -4 0
Group B
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Germany 3 3 0 0 12 0 12 9
Norway 3 2 1 0 8 2 6 6
Cote d’Ivoire 3 1 2 0 4 9 -5 3
Thailand 3 0 3 0 0 13 -13 0
Group C
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Japan 3 3 0 0 7 2 5 9
Switzerland 3 2 1 0 10 7 3 6
Ecuador 3 1 2 0 2 4 -2 3
Cameroon 3 0 3 0 2 8 -6 0
Group D
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Sweden 3 3 0 0 5 2 3 9
USA 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 6
Nigeria 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 1
Australia 3 0 2 1 1 5 -4 1
Group E
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
Brazil 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 7
South Korea 3 2 1 0 4 2 2 6
Spain 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Costa Rica 3 0 3 0 1 5 -4 0
Group F
Team P W L D F A GD Pts
France 3 2 0 1 10 4 6 7
England 3 2 0 1 7 4 3 7
Mexico 3 0 2 1 3 5 -2 1
Colombia 3 0 2 1 1 8 -7 1

Round of 16:
Canada d. Switzerland – a proverbial slam dunk draw for the hosts
Sweden d.  Spain – but it will take extra time as the Spanish knock of the door of global legitimacy
Germany d. China – Germans take first knockout match since stunning loss to Japan four years ago
France d. South Korea – not without some trouble
United States d. Brazil – Marta’s prime flashes before her eyes in the eastern outpost of Moncton; no last-second dramatics needed this time
Japan d. Cote I’Voire – no contest.  The 24-is-too-many crowd pound their chests.
Norway d. England – best game of this phase sees the ’95 champions through at the expense of more English soccer disappointment
Netherlands d. Ecuador – the beat goes on for Netherlands in a matchup of World Cup debutantes

Canada d. Sweden – hosts get their transcendent moment with upset of highly regarded Swedes.
Germany d. France – match of the month; Germany claw out late win to keep France yearning for a podium finish at a major event
United States d. Japan – sweet revenge for the 2011 championship match
Norway d. Netherlands – one quarterfinal a World Cup misses the mark.  This is it.

Germany d. Canada – Stunned at home four years ago, Germany pays it forward by ending Canada’s dream of celebrating on home soil
United States d. Norway – Norway’s direct style plays right into the hands of the U.S. who play it ugly but reach their fifth straight global final

Third place:
Canada d. Norway – Canada’s presence is a boost for the match no one wants to play and the win ends their World Cup on a high note

Germany d. United States – three out of four World Cups for Germany equaling the Brazilian men’s dominance from 1958-1970

Euro 2020 qualifying: France settles for draw with Turkey

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Euro 2020 qualifying continued on Monday and included a top-of-the-group clash in Group H.

[READ: England rout Bulgaria in game marred by racist chants]

France 1-1 Turkey

France spoiled a chance at home to put one foot in Euro 2020 after conceding late in the match and settling for a draw with Turkey.

Despite playing without a lot of starters – Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Hugo Lloris are all out injured – France still was strong in the first half and peppered Turkey with 12 shots. Goalkeeper Mert Gunok made an outstanding double-save in the first half and Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü did his best to keep Antoine Griezmann in front of him.

In the 72nd minute, Olivier Giroud came on the field as a substitute and four minutes later, he put France in front to the delight of the home crowd at the Stade de France. What else, but a header off a corner. However, the lead didn’t last long. Off a free kick in the 82nd minute, Hakan Calhanoglu’s delivery was nodded home by Kaan Ayhan. The 1-1 draw leaves both France and Turkey tied with 19 points from eight qualifying matches. It also means that Turkey hasn’t lost to France over two games in this qualifying cycle.

Here’s a look at the rest of Monday’s scores:

Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifying scores

Group A

Bulgaria 0-6 England

Kosovo 2-0 Montenegro

Group B

Lithuania 1-2 Serbia

Ukraine 2-1 Portugal

Group H

Iceland 2-0 Andorra

Moldova 0-4 Albania

Ronaldo scores 700th goal for club and country

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Cristiano Ronaldo achieved yet another personal milestone in his star-studded career on Monday evening with a simple penalty kick goal.

With his 72nd minute strike, Ronaldo tallied his 700th goal for club and country in his career. It’s an incredible achievement, and one indicative of his incredible goal-scoring exploits and his long career.

Ronaldo was already leading all active players globally in terms of goals scored, so his 700th is only adding to the list. His former club nemesis, Lionel Messi, still sits a reported 28 goals behind him, according to Soccerway. After them, LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the closest, and he has “only” 542 goals.

The Portuguese icon becomes the sixth male player to score 700 goals in his career. The others include Pele, Romaro, Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskás, and Gerd Muller.

Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in the 2002-2003 season as a 17-year-old and quickly was snapped up by Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson, where he transitioned from a tricky winger to a clinical striker who couldn’t stop scoring.

The 34-year-old has scored 40-or-more goals on three occasions in his career and he scored 25-or-more goals in all nine years he was at Real Madrid. For Portugal, he’s now scored an incredible 95 goals in all competitions. He had 15 goals in World Cup qualifying alone for the 2018 campaign.

Watch the video of Ronaldo’s breaking goal below. Unfortunately for him, Portugal fell, 2-1 to Ukraine.

Southgate, England players sound off on racist abuse

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England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

[READ: USMNT looks to build from win v. Canada]

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

It took just seven minutes for England to get on the board. Barkley found Rashford down the left wing, and after turning a defender with a cross-fake, Rashford cut back from goal and whipped a strike that flashed past Bulgarian goalkeeper Plaman Iliev and in for a goal.

Kane, who has earned some criticism for not scoring as much recently as in the past, showed he was more than a goal-scoring No. 9. Combining with Raheem Sterling like he did so well at the 2018 World Cup, Kane in the 20th minute played a great pass into Sterling’s feet in the box. The Manchester City winger did the rest, crossing to a wide-open Barkley at the back post for a tap-in.

Kane again played provider in the 32nd minute, floating to the right and delivering an-inch perfect cross right to the penalty spot with his left foot. Barkley was there to meet it with a glancing header to score and put the game to rest.

Despite dealing with horrendous racist abuse from the crowd and two pauses in the game, England continued to attack and were rewarded when Kane set up Sterling for another tap-in moments before the halftime break.

Kane and Sterling connected again for another goal before in the 85th minute, Kane finally got his finish to send Bulgaria packing.

Considering the events in the stadium, it’s a triumphant win for England. However, they still must win at least one more game before automatic qualification to Euro 2020 is assured, as Kosovo beat Montenegro, 2-0 on Monday as well to stay within touching distance of England and the Czech Republic.