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Overlook of the Round of 16 for the Women’s World Cup

Overlook of the Round of 16 for the Women’s World Cup and what to expect. This year’s Women’s World Cup has been one of the most entertaining ones yet, especially with it expanding to 32 teams. We’ve seen unlikely results with Brazil, Canada and Germany all going home after the group stage while South Africa, Jamaica and Morocco making it through to the knockout round.  

Here is a preview of every Round of 16 match and what to expect starting Saturday: 

 

Switzerland vs Spain: Will ‘La Roja’ Redeem Themselves?  

Spain was looking like a real World Cup contender after demolishing both Costa Rica and Zambia during their first two World Cup matches. However, fell apart during the 4-0 loss to Japan. Switzerland topped Group A, but still enter the match as the underdog. Their defense has been holding them throughout the tournament, not allowing a goal thus far. However, they have only scored two goals, both against the Philippines during their opening match.  

Statically, Spain have a 70% chance of winning the match, especially with the offensive threat from Jennifer Hermoso and Alba Redondo, each having two goals each. Alexis Putellas has also been waiting for her opportunity to shine, which will be a danger to Switzerland. In any case, still do not sleep on the Swiss as they have the potential for the upset with their strong defense. 

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

Total matches: Three 

Spain Wins: Two 

Switzerland Wins: One 

 

Japan vs Norway: How Far Can Japan Keep Their Dominance Going?  

As of right now, Japan are first in the current World Cup power rankings with a perfect 3-0-0 group stage record while scoring 11 goals and not allowing one. With Germany eliminated, Hinata Miyazawa has a chance for the golden boot as she is already at four goals and one assist at the tournament. Mina Tanaka has also been superb for Japan, assisting three times while scoring twice.  

Especially after their 4-0 win over Spain, the question is who can really stop them. Norway made it through to the next round as runners-up in Group A. They ended the group stage on a high note with six goals over the Philippines. Japan do hold a 53% chance of winning the match and are currently the heavy favorites to advance.  

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

Total matches: Six 

Japan Wins: Five 

Norway Wins: One 

 

South Africa vs The Netherlands: Can South Africa Pull Another Upset?  

After beating Italy in the final minutes of regulation, South Africa pulled one of the biggest upsets at this World Cup to eliminate Italy from the tournament. After stumbling against Argentina and losing to Sweden, it was looking like a World Cup exit for the nation. Though it may seem simple, this will be a harder match for the Dutch than they think. After keeping the lead over the favorites in the USWNT, the Netherlands finished first in the group stage and are looking like a forced to be wrecking with.  

Jill Roord and Esmee Virginia Brugts are the players to look out for, both combined having five goals over the span of three matches. What will make this match hard for the Netherlands is taking too much of an advantage of South Africa’s inexperience. After their upset against Italy, the Dutch will need to be strategic on how to handle the match by keeping the same intensity and drive to win throughout the match.  

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

Total matches: Five 

Netherlands Wins: Five 

South Africa: Zero 

 

Sweden vs the United States: Will We See the Best of the USWNT? 

The United States have merely disappointed so far at this World Cup, as they were on a verge of elimination during their match against Portugal. Despite only giving up one goal, their attack seemed to be off par than usual. The finishing for the Americans have been the key issue, with 17 shots on target during the three group stage while scoring just four goals. Sweden, however, have looked sharped during their group matches, taking first place in Group G.  

Amanda Ilestedt leads the team in goals with three while the defense totaled two clean sheets in the three games. Sweden will enter the match as the slight favorites, however it will be a head-to-head battle with history surrounding the two. Most recently, Sweden eliminated the U.S during the semi-finals of the 2020 Olympics games, which was a shock to all. However, we have not seen the best of the USWNT this tournament, which can be a scary thing for Sweden to watch out for.  

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

Total matches: 20 

Sweden: Four 

USWNT: Nine 

Draws: Seven 

 

England vs Nigeria: The Lionesses are Hungry For More Wins 

England have picked up the slack and ended up having a better group stage after a shaky start. Tying to Hati 0-0, England came back to beat both Denmark and China to take first place in their group. Lauren James has look unstoppable, scoring three goals with three assists to lead the golden ball race. She will be a crucial player to watch out for England as she has already contributed to all but one of England’s goals thus far.  

However, England must be careful with their inconsistency, as it has been a key issue for the Lionesses. After a poor first match, England have finally turned it on, but for how long will it last? Nigeria will not be an easy matchup after pulling off the 3-2 over Australia in the group [Though it was against a Sam Kerr’less squad].  

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

No previous meetings between these two sides 

 

Australia vs Denmark: Will We See Sam Kerr Make Her 2023 World Cup Debut? 

The face of women’s football Sam Kerr has not appeared in a World Cup match yet after suffering from a calf injury. Despite being an option off the bench during the match against Canada, the team did not need her as they put four passed them to take first place in the group. Now with tougher competition in Denmark, the team will need her to be in top shape.  

The Danish have qualified for the knockout round for the first time since 1995, making them the underdog against the host nation. They won two out of three matches in their group while only allowing one goal. This could be a close matchup, with Denmark having the potential to pull the upset especially after Australia fell to Nigeria in the group stage. As long as Sam Kerr is fit and ready to play, it will make it very difficult for Denmark to stop, especially with the home crowd against them.  

 

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

Total matches: 4 

Australia Wins: One 

Denmark Wins: Two 

Draws: One 

 

Colombia vs Jamaica- The Carribean vs South America 

A matchup that many would not have expected as Jamaica make it to their first ever knockout stage at a World Cup. As for Colombia, they are the only team left from South America with a chance to go far this tournament. Linda Caicedo is building her legacy in the sport starting with this World Cup, scoring two goals already for Colombia.  

However, Colombia will need more than Caicedo if they want to make a promising run at this World Cup. Jamaica have already faced two powerhouse teams of Brazil and France, drawing scoreless draws to both. Despite not scoring, the Reggae Girls proved that they could defend hard and make it difficult for other team’s attacks. This is expected to be a tight matchup that can go either way. However, the odds are in Colombia’s favor to take the win.

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

No previous meetings between these two sides 

 

France vs Morocco: Will Morocco Mimic the Success of Their Men’s Side at a World Cup? 

Morocco continues to surprise us, and this time it’s their females that are making their nation proud. After a deflating 6-0 loss to Germany, the nation managed to win their next two games and make it to the Round of 16, with some help from South Korea. By this result, it knocked out the second ranked German team. A result like this barely happens in football, but anything is possible with Morocco.  

Now they will face the test of France, who have had a shaky run, but ended with a bang by scoring six against Panama. Seeing what the Morocco men national team did in Qatar just a few months ago, anything can happen. However for France, it’s their match to lose as a win will put them in great position for a path to their first ever World Cup win.  

Previous head-to-head matchups: 

No previous meetings between these two sides 

 

Check out our 2023 Women’s World Cup Preview article to see how our team is doing in our predictions.
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