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.
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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
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.
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
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