A look at the teams in the quarters at the World Cup
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup are set. Here’s a look at the upcoming matches, and how the teams have fared so far in Canada:
UNITED STATES VS. CHINA: This is the first World Cup meeting between the teams since the 1999 final, which the United States won on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl.
The U.S. women have scored six goals during the tournament so far, but the defense has been solid. The team has gone 333 minutes without conceding a goal.
The second-ranked Americans finished atop Group D, the so-called Group of Death, defeating Australia and Nigeria and playing to a scoreless draw with Sweden. On Monday, the U.S. defeated No. 28 Colombia to open the round of 16.
The Americans will be without midfielders Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe for the quarterfinals. Both are out after receiving two yellow cards.
“No matter who they put in, I know they’re going to step up. Whoever it is has to, because we’re in the quarterfinals. This is the World Cup. Obviously you win or you go home, and China’s not a team to take lightly,” said U.S. forward Abby Wambach.
China, ranked No. 16, has also displayed a stout defense during the tournament so far. The Chinese went 1-1-1 in Group A, finishing second to host Canada, scoring three goals and allowing three.
China advanced to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon.
The match is scheduled for Friday night at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Stadium.
GERMANY VS. FRANCE: This is widely considered the best match of the quarterfinals.
Third-ranked France was stunned in the group stage by falling 2-0 to Colombia, but nonetheless finished atop Group F before defeating No. 8 South Korea 3-0 in the round of 16.
“We’re happy to be in the quarterfinals,” French coach Philippe Bergeroo said. “The Germans are the best team in the world according to the FIFA World Ranking, and so we’ll give them all the respect they deserve.”
Germany, under coach Silvia Neid, leads the field at the World Cup with 19 goals in the tournament, compared with just two allowed. Anja Mittag and Celia Sasic have five goals apiece.
Germany finished atop Group B before defeating No. 5 Sweden 4-1 in its opening knockout-round match.
With Europe using the World Cup as part of its Olympic qualifying, France and Germany have secured berths in the 2016 Rio Games by advancing farther than any other eligible UEFA member.
Germany didn’t make the 2012 London Games. France lost to Canada in the bronze-medal match.
The game is Friday in Montreal.
CANADA VS. ENGLAND: It’s all going according to plan for host Canada. The team is through to the quarters and gets England in front of what is sure to be an amped-up home crowd.
“Coming back into BC Place will mean we’ll get our home advantage, the 12th man will really kick in at this point and give us hopefully that sort of energy they did toward the end of the game to lift our team,” Canada coach John Herdman said.
Canada, ranked No. 8, was the surprise bronze medal winning at London in 2012, and the team’s next step is to finish strong at the World Cup. Because England competes as part of the United Kingdom at the Olympics, its quarterfinal berth does not count for qualifying for Europe’s third berth in the 2016 Rio Games.
While they haven’t had a lot of goals — four in four games — the Canadians finished atop Group A before defeating Switzerland 1-0 to open the knockout round. Josee Belanger scored the goal.
England, ranked No. 6 by FIFA, scored its first knockout stage win at the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Norway
Canada and England met once before in the World Cup, a 3-2 win for England 20 years ago.
The match is Saturday in Vancouver.
AUSTRALIA VS. JAPAN: Tenth-ranked Australia pulled off the upset of the elimination stage with a 1-0 victory over Brazil and star Marta.
Kyah Simon came off the bench to score the goal, Australia’s first in the knockout stage of a World Cup.
“Obviously beating a team like Brazil gives you a massive amount of belief and it feels good to reach this stage of the tournament but we want to go further,” forward Samantha Kerr said.
Australia finished second in Group D, wrapping up with a 1-all draw with No. 5 Sweden.
Simon leads the team with three goals, while captain Lisa De Vanna has two.
They’ll face another tough opponent in defending champion Japan, which defeated the U.S. on penalty kicks four years ago in Germany.
Japan is the only team left in the field which has won all its games. The Japanese have allowed only two goals. Japan defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the round of 16.
The match is Saturday at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.
This story has been corrected to show that England’s berth in the World Cup quarterfinal has no bearing on the 2016 Olympics, not that its win over Norway kept England in contention for a bid in the Brazil games.
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