USWNT

Getty Images

Predicting the rest of the Women’s World Cup

3 Comments

The Women’s World Cup is into the final eight, with seven of the eight teams hailing from Europe.

[ MORE: Women’s World Cup Power Rankings ]

The lone outlier is some team from North America who may or may not have won the last World Cup and can become the first team to win four of the things.

Who thinks they will? Our staff weighs in on the matter below.


Joe Prince-Wright

Quarterfinals
England defeats Norway
France defeats USA
Netherlands defeats Italy
Germany defeats Sweden

Semifinals
England v. France
Netherlands v. Germany 

Final
France defeats Germany
Wendie Renard of France celebrates with teammates (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Nicholas Mendola

Quarterfinals
England defeats Norway
USA defeats France
Italy defeats Netherlands
Germany defeats Sweden

Semifinals
USA defeats England
Germany defeats Italy 

Final
USA defeats Germany

Andy Edwards

Quarterfinals
England
defeats Norway
France defeats USA
Italy defeats Netherlands
Germany defeats Sweden

Semifinals
France
defeats England
Germany defeats Italy

Final
Germany defeats France

Dzsenifer Marozsan of Germany  (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Dan Karell
Quarterfinals
England defeats Norway
USA defeats France
Netherlands defeats Italy
Germany defeats Sweden
Semifinals
USA defeats England
Netherlands defeats Germany
Final
USA defeats Netherlands

Kyle Bonn

Quarterfinals
England
defeats Norway
France defeats USA
Netherlands defeats Italy
Germany defeats Sweden

Semifinals
France
defeats England
Germany defeats Italy

Final
France defeats Germany

Women’s World Cup quarterfinal schedule set, plus Power Rankings

AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Leave a comment

The Women’s World Cup quarterfinal field includes an entire continent’s worth of teams and the United States women’s national team.

[ MORE: Italy tops China ]

Before we get to ranking the remaining eight teams, here are the dates for the quarterfinals:

Norway v. England – 3 p.m. ET Thursday
France v. United States – 3 p.m. ET Friday
Italy v. Netherlands – 9 a.m. ET Saturday
Germany v. Sweden – 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday


8. Norway — Can you imagine Norway getting to a final without the reigning Ballon d’Or winner?
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 10
Pre-World Cup ranking: 12

7. Sweden —  The attacking pieces are there for a run, but Germany is a big obstacle.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 7
Pre-World Cup ranking: 6

6. Netherlands — Bailed out by goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and the FIFA rulebook/VAR.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 4
Pre-World Cup ranking: 9

5. Italy — Has allowed two goals: One to Marta, the other to Sam Kerr.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 6
Pre-World Cup ranking: 14

4. England — Back in fourth more due to the Dutch’s problems against Japan than its straight-forward defeat of Cameroon.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 5
Pre-World Cup ranking: 4

Ellen White of England celebrates with teammate Toni Duggan  (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

3. Germany — If this long rest allows Dzsenifer Marozsan’s broken toe to heal a bit, look out.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 3
Pre-World Cup ranking: 3

2. France — The hosts snuck past Brazil in extra time, but at least they scored from the run of play as opposed to the No. 1 team.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 2
Pre-World Cup ranking: 2

  1. USWNT — Everyone’s allowed a dud, and some respect as the reigning champs. 2-1 over Spain with both goals on penalties has to qualify as a dud. Rapinoe and Morgan looked weary on short rest. France will be a battle. Does Jill Ellis need to ring in the changes?
    Pre-Knockout round ranking: 1
    Pre-World Cup ranking: 1

Rapinoe hopes for ‘total (expletive) circus’ around USWNT-France quarterfinal

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
2 Comments

Megan Rapinoe is amping up the occasion, even if it really doesn’t need it.

And we love it.

The United States women’s national team, reigning World Cup champions, will meet hosts France on Friday in Paris for what will be one of the most anticipated quarterfinals in some time.

The possibility that the two group winners would meet at this point was circled on theoretical calendars since the draw, and Rapinoe is just as jazzed as the rest of us.

[ MORE: USWNT beats Spain ]

Immediately after the game, Rapinoe admitted that the second half of the USWNT’s 2-1 defeat of Spain had the team looking at each other for another level.

And she also loved the heart and soul involved in the win.

“That’s World Cup-level grit right there,” she said (video below). “You can’t replicate it. There’s no way to express it or teach it. There were a few of us on the field in the second half saying, ‘Up a level.’ They only get harder and more intense from here. Everyone’s playing for their lives.

Jill Ellis must be assertive if USWNT is to beat France

Getty Images
2 Comments

The United States women beat Spain 2-1 on Monday in spite of their head coach, not because of her. That much is a fact.

The USWNT survived and advanced thanks to a soft late penalty in a game that saw upstart and plucky Spain rise to the challenge and go toe-to-toe with one of the best squads in the world. It didn’t have to be that way.

Jill Ellis had about four or five potential substitutions staring her in the face as early as halftime, and yet she didn’t make her first change until the 85th minute, a frankly inexcusable fact. If she remains that passive against France in the quarterfinals, the United States will be headed home faster than you can say “free Carli Lloyd.” While the U.S. eventually came out victorious thanks to a soft penalty with 15 minutes to go, the sigh of relief does not exonerate Ellis on the day she matched the USWNT career games coached record.

Ellis said before the match that both Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz, who had missed World Cup group stage time with minor injuries, were “fine.” It was obvious that Morgan was not “fine” as she appeared to be running with a piano on her back, unable to make her trademark runs between the lines and nowhere to be found on counter-attacks. At one point in the second half, Morgan found herself on the ball down the right flank in acres of space, and instead of charging into the space, she waited for a defender to close her down before firing a speculative long-ball towards the box that deflected off the defender and landed harmlessly in front of the Spanish goalkeeper.

If it wasn’t clear Morgan was injured by her play on the field, it was obvious as the game wound down when, as she was set to take the second penalty, a switch was made to Rapinoe during the VAR review – if Ellis knew Morgan was too hurt to take a viable penalty, how could she possibly contribute in open play? With Carli Lloyd and Christen Press on the bench, Ellis fell asleep at the wheel, instead preferring to see a hampered Morgan trudge around the pitch for 85 minutes before mercifully making a change well after the U.S. had retaken the lead in fortunate fashion.

While Morgan toiled up front to little return, Megan Rapinoe also had one of her worst games in a USWNT shirt down the left flank, despite her brace from the spot. The U.S. co-captain was continually dispossessed, choosing to barge into defenders and fall over rather than look to beat them one-on-one and deliver her patented vicious crosses from deep in the corner. Rapinoe’s Spanish marks Marta Corredera and Lucia Garcia down their right were more than up to the task, continually stopping Rapinoe in her tracks and flipping possession. With Mallory Pugh ready to go on the bench, Ellis was again caught napping as Rapinoe faded further and further into oblivion. She was almost invisible in the second half, at one point receiving the ball for a counter-attack and slamming on the brakes, ending the danger with a back-pass that forced Fox commentator JP Dellacamera to incredulously exclaim – after a moment to process the ruined opportunity – “It seemed like it was on.” You could feel him shaking his head.

Finally, there was the pre-match decision to sit Lindsay Horan, one of the most valuable U.S. players. While it’s difficult to criticize the decision to leave Horan out – with the midfielder on a yellow card, a calculated risk to sit her before a potential meeting with France is an understandable and defensible strategy, even if some may not agree – her decision to then bring Horan on with one minute remaining in regulation and seven minutes of stoppage time was absolutely unthinkable. The end of an overly physical game is a breeding ground for a late flurry of cautions, and if Horan had sat the majority of a tough match before coming on in garbage time to earn a suspension against France would have been utterly deplorable.

Ellis had a plethora of possible substitutions at her disposal, each of which would have likely swung the game in the U.S.’s favor, and yet she sat on her hands for 85 minutes before the game was in hand. Tobin Heath took a beating in the second half and could have used a change as the game wore on. Becky Sauerbrunn hardly covered herself in glory on occasion. Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle were the best players on the pitch but had little help in the final third.

But don’t take my word for it, take Andy’s.

With a highly anticipated quarterfinal against France now confirmed, Ellis must be far more assertive on the touchline if the United States is to match up against an opponent who can match them not just physically but also technically. No disrespect to Spain, who deserve all the credit in the world for not only bringing a disrupting amount of situational physicality to the pitch but also a superior tactical game plan, but the test on Friday against France will be even more difficult. As a fellow favorite to win the title and as host nation sure to draw a hostile environment for the Americans, France will prove a worthy opponent and have all the talent needed to prove a legitimate threat. It wasn’t easy for the French either in the Round of 16, needing an extra-time goal from Amandine Henry to squeeze by a down Brazil side, but they will still be up to the task.

After the stinker against Spain, the U.S. head coach must be up to it as well, or the Stars & Stripes will be going home from the 2019 World Cup disappointingly early, and will only have themselves to blame. Against France, there will be moments where a substitution will be necessary to regain hold of the game or fill a gap the opponent is good enough to exploit. Jill Ellis must face the truth: there’s nowhere to hide against the hosts, and the only way to get by such a daunting task will be an aggressive approach off the bench.

USWNT edge past Spain to reach World Cup quarters (video)

Getty Images
3 Comments

The U.S. women’s national team made hard work of it, but they beat Spain 2-1 in Reims on Monday to set up a clash with hosts France in the 2019 World Cup quarterfinals.

With the win the USWNT also kept their proud record intact of reaching at least the last eight of every World Cup in history, as they’ve never previously fallen before the semifinal stage.

A penalty kick in each half from USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe did the damage as a physical Spanish side pushed the USA all the way as Jenni Hermoso’s fine goal after a defensive mix-up made it 1-1 following Rapinoe’s early penalty kick.

However, a PK with 15 minutes to go, which was checked by VAR, saw Rapinoe send the USWNT through to a last eight clash with hosts France at the Parc des Princes on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest Women’s World Cup news ]

Spain almost scored in the opening moments of the game as a sweeping move found Patri Guijarro but her powerful shot was blocked bravely by Becky Sauerbrunn.

Moments later the USWNT were ahead.

Tobin Heath won a penalty kick inside the first five minutes as her sublime first touch resulted in a clumsy tackle from Spain’s Mapi Leon which brought Heath down. Rapinoe calmly dispatched the spot kick to make it 1-0.

 

However, Spain were level less than two-and-a-half minutes later after an awful defensive mistake from the USWNT.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher passed the ball to Sauerbrunn but she was closed down quickly and Hermoso chipped home the loose ball brilliantly to make it 1-1. Game on.

The flow of the game continued to be frantic as Rapinoe was set free by Rose Lavelle and she forced Spain’s goalkeeper Sandra Panos to save at her near post. Julie Ertz then smashed over from a good position as the USWNT looked more dangerous, but Spain continued to press high up the pitch whenever they could and caused the U.S. problems.

In the second half Spain disrupted the USA’s flow with plenty of strong challenges as the game turned into a scrappy encounter.

Rose Lavelle drilled a shot from distance just over as the USWNT clicked through the gears in the final third of the game. But at the other end Spain were dangerous on the counter as Patricio Guijarro surged into the box and her shot was inches wide.

The excellent Lavelle then won a penalty kick 15 minutes from time as she was clipped in the box and after a VAR review, the referee upheld her original decision.

After a lengthy delay Rapinoe stepped up to score her second penalty of the game to make it 2-1 and send the USWNT into the quarterfinals of the World Cup where they will face France in Paris on Friday.