Women’s World Cup Last 16 Preview

A look ahead to the last 16 games in the tournament this week

Germany v Sweden – Saturday 21:00 BST

Germany comfortably came through group B with Norway.  However, the Germans only won the group on goal difference and looked vulnerable in defence. They scored a staggering 15 goals in their games as they showed the power they have going forward, Anja Miitag is the current tournament top scorer with four. Sweden on the other hand drew all three of their games and scraped through as one of the best third placed teams. After being stunned in a 3-3 draw with Nigeria, they were able to hold favourites United States to a 0-0 draw.

Sweden showed their resilience in their draw with the United States and Germany may find it hard to break them down. This is far from a straight forward win for the former champions.

Prediction – Germany

China v Cameroon – Sunday 00:30 BST

One of the toughest games to call.  China have been impressive so far, they were very unlucky to lose their opening game against Canada, after a dubious late penalty. They overcame the Netherlands, before earning a point against New Zealand to finish second in a very tight group.  Cameroon won two of their three games only losing to Japan and scored nine times in the process. The winner is likely to face the United States in the quarter-finals.

Both teams will be delighted to have made it out of the group stage and we could be in for an attacking feast.  I’m tempted to edge towards China, but either way it will be one for viewers not to miss.

Prediction – A penalty shoot-out!

Brazil v Australia – Sunday 18:00 BST

Before the tournament I thought Brazil might struggle, but they have proved me wrong. They cruised through the group stage winning all three of their games  and they did not concede a goal in the process. However, they did have one of the easier groups on paper and Australia will be their biggest test so far. Despite an opening defeat to favourites United States, Australia were able to progress in second place from a very tough group. They defeated Nigeria before earning the point they needed against Sweden to ensure they made the last 16.

Brazil haven’t been tested so far, but they have been one of the most impressive sides in the competition. Australia won’t be an easy game for them, but they should move on and the draw looks like providing them with a great opportunity to reach the final

Prediction – Brazil

France v South Korea – Sunday 21:00 BST

France looked impressive in their game with England and smashed Mexico with their only blip coming vs Colombia. In the game vs Mexico, Amandine Henry scored one of the goals of the tournament, which her name sake would have been proud of. It was enough to top the group and the third best team in the world look a very good all round side that will trouble anyone in the competition.

South Korea bounced back from defeat against Brazil to pick up four points and qualify in second place. They will consider it an achievement to have made it out of the group stages of the competition for the first time, but this is where it will end for them.

Eugenie Le Sommer has been fantastic for the French and she will fire them through.

Prediction – France

Canada v Switzerland  – Monday 00:30 BST

Canada were able to win their group without being at their best and the hosts will have to improve if they are to get through the later stages of the tournament. Christine Sinclair scored a penalty with virtually the last kick of Canada’s opener with China. However, the hosts were held by both New Zealand and the Netherlands. Sinclair has, by her standards, been quiet so far with the penalty her only goal.

Switzerland had one of the results of the tournament, as they put ten, yes ten, past Ecuador in a 10-1 win, but they lost against Japan and Cameroon. The size of their victory over Ecuador was one of the reasons they were able to progress as one of the best third placed teams.

Canada will need to improve, but they will have too much for a Switzerland side that haven’t impressed so far.

Prediction – Canada

Norway v England – Monday 22:00 BST

This has the potential to be a great game between two evenly matched sides. Norway have been one of the teams that have impressed me the most. They easily dispatched of Thailand and the Ivory Coast. They were also impressive in their draw with Germany.

England started slow against the French, but improved to get past Mexico and Colombia. England Manager Mark Sampson has rotated his side so far, going with different formations and line-ups, so it will be interesting to see who he starts. Youngster Fran Kirby has shown why she is so highly rated and could provide that little moment of magic to win the game.

Both teams are exciting going forward, but I expect it will be the team who defends the best will come out on top.

Prediction – Norway after extra time

United States v Colombia – Tuesday 01:00 BST

The United States were comfortable winners of one of the hardest groups, as they claimed seven points from their three games. They still have a lot in the tank and I can only see them stepping it up as the tournament goes on. They should be able to ease through to the semi-finals, with the potential crunch game with the Germans.

Colombia on the other hand have been very indifferent so far. In their second game they produced one of the shocks of the competition, as they beat France 2-0, but they were then very poor against England. Their hopes against the US depend on which Colombia team turns up.

If Colombia play like they did against France it will make for an interesting game. However, I picked the United States to win it all before the tournament started and I have seen no reason to change that opinion.

Prediction – United States

Japan v Netherlands – Wednesday 03:00 BST

Japan are dangerous in this tournament. The holders have got through the group stages winning all their games and yet they have hardly been mentioned as potential winners. They are in the weaker half of the draw and could go all the way again.

I tipped the Netherlands to be the surprise team in the competition, but they have been disappointing so far. They have though been hard to break down, only conceding twice, but they will have to show more adventure then they have so far if they are to trouble Japan.

The Japanese should have too much for the young Dutch side.

Prediction – Japan

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