Several groups will be decided on matchday three with a host of exciting fixtures set to play out.

The World Cup is expected to kick into an extra gear as the Group Stage draws to a close – with many questions still yet to be answered.

Can the US be beaten? Are the Dutch the real deal? Will the Matildas finish second?

There is plenty to look forward in an exciting curtain raiser to the knock-out stages.

Group C finale

Italy has turned this group on its head with two big wins which see them shape up as potential tournament dark horses. They have the chance to seal top-spot should they defeat or draw against Brazil, who will be determined to bounce back from their loss to Australia. While Italy’s place inside the top-two is all but secured, Brazil are at risk of dropping to as low as third which would see them face hosts France in the next round.

Australia, meanwhile, face similar consequences should they fail to break into the top half of Group C.  The Matildas face bottom placed Jamaica – whom they have never met – requiring a big win and a favourable result in the other match to finish second. Should the Matildas defeat Jamaica and Italy defeat or draw against Brazil, then Australia will climb into second.

Whoever finishes second will meet Group A’s second placed team – which as things stand is Norway.

Both matches will be played simultaneously, setting up a nervy yet exciting Wednesday morning.

matildas.jpg

England’s biggest test yet

The Lionesses are flying at the moment.

Two wins from two and head coach Phil Neville has his side unified and playing with purpose. They meet 2011 World Cup winners Japan in their final group game, a match which decide who takes out first place in Group D.

England will be motivated by their semi-final loss to Japan in 2015, in which Aya Miyama’s penalty broke the hearts of over two million viewers in the UK.  Four years on and the Lionesses come in as hot favourites to take out the tournament but have to get through a seasoned campaigner in Japan first.

England have been tested in both their matches so far – coming away with narrow victories despite dominating.  Jill Scott and Karen Carney made history for their national side, becoming the first players to represent England in four World Cups.

Japan meanwhile will be disappointed to have drawn their opening match against Argentina – who picked up their first point in World Cup history.

Despite not being favoured to progress far into the tournament, the Lionesses must be wary of the Japanese – who are no strangers to the big occasion.

 

Are the Netherlands the real deal?

Many hold the Dutch in high stead and favourites to win the tournament and it’s hard not to.

A front third of Lieke Martins, Vivianne Miedema and Shanice van de Sanden is enough to make any opposition shiver, with Miedema netting a brace against Cameroon.

At 22, Miedema scored her 60th international goal and becomes Holland’s all-time leading goal scorer.

The Dutch narrowly got past New Zealand and made light work of Cameroon but face an arduous task in an undefeated Canada – one which decides Group E.

Canada’s Christine Sinclair leads the lines up front in her fifth World Cup, having scored 181 goals in 283 appearances – three goals behind American Abby Wambach’s record of 184.

The winners of this tie will play one of England or Japan, whereas the losers will either face the USA or Sweden.

netherlands.jpg
Image: BBC

 

Rivalry renewed

The USA and Sweden are no strangers to one-another.

This will be the sixth meeting between the two at a World Cup, with each match having come in the group stages.

If there’s one team who is capable of taking it to the US it’s Sweden. The Swedes have avoided defeat in their last two meetings against the Americans, with their last match ending all square in a goalless draw in 2015.

Moreover, the USA have not lost a World Cup match in normal time since their 2-1 loss to Sweden in 2011 adding to the suspense and intrigue ahead of this match – a tournament the US lost on penalties to Japan in the final.

American striker Carli Lloyd made history by being the first player to score in six consecutive World Cup matches, having scored nine in her last six at a World Cup.

 

Advertisements
athossirianos
athos.sirianos@gmail.com
First year Journalism student at RMIT University. Looking to get the truth out while having a bit of fun.