Week Two of the FIFA Women’s World Cup wrapped up yesterday, and ye olde #GROUPSTAGE is over! That means we had to say goodbye to some of our pals who didn’t make the Round of 16 cut. Here’s what happened:
China and Spain fought it out for an overall yawn dot com result of 0-0. Both teams are through to the Round of 16. South Africa and Germany duked it out at the same time, and the German squad hammered out four goals for a 4-0 result. Sorry, South Africa. Maybe in four years.
In the afternoon, it was Nigeria against France, and while the Nigerians remained scoreless, the French were able to eek out a goal for the win. South Korea was also able to score a goal in their match against Norway at the same time, but Norway got the job done with two goals for the win.
Tuesday was inarguably one of the most interesting days to watch, IMO, since everybody had a lot riding on the results. Italy has looked impeccable so far in the tournament, but Brazil was able to school ’em with a 0-1 win. Australia, meanwhile, hammered home four goals against Jamaica, but as a silver lining, the Jamaican team was able to score its first-ever goal at a Women’s World Cup for a 4-1 result.
On Wednesday powerhouses England and Japan faced off against one another, and the British knocked in two goals while Japan remained scoreless. But that’s not the match everybody was talking about. Instead, it was what happened between Scotland and Argentina – the former thought they had it in the bag with a 3-0 lead over the Argentine squad, but somehow (and I am still completely baffled) the South Americans were able to come back to make it a 3-3 draw in overtime. No squad has ever come back from that kind of a deficit at a WWC. I cannot even express the level of drama. (Scottish tempers were flaring, which is semi-understandable considering they could have advanced to the Round of 16 with a win, but would be 100% eliminated with a draw.) If you can find the game to watch it retrospectively, 10/10 would recommend. Absolutely the most bonkers thing I have ever seen in my life. Bonsegundo for president of the universe.
And here came the real nail-biter day! So many teams were still hanging onto the bubble, and their fates (including Argentina’s) rested on the results of games between Cameroon and New Zealand, and Chile and Thailand. RE: the former, Cameroon beat New Zealand 2-1 // the New Zealand squad nearly made it a draw, but in a larger-than-life overtime goal, Nchout became a national hero. The squad’s win dashed some hopes, though, since Cameroon snapped up one of two remaining Round of 16 spots. And in the afternoon, while Chile beat Thailand 2-0, they needed at least a three goal lead to advance. Bummer. (If you wondering about what all this means, just hang on and I’ll tell you who’s in and who’s out.)
The other matches were between the Netherlands and Canada (the Dutch beating the Canadians 2-1) and the US and Sweden (the US beating Sweden 2-0 with a goal knocked in in the 3rd minute by Lindsay Horan, and another bananas one drummed up by the feet of Tobin Heath, though later it was deemed a Swedish own goal). These were slightly less riveting watches since all four teams were already guaranteed Round of 16 spots, but I will say that the USWNT is looking SO SHARP. I feel very confident about the squad as a whole.
So where does that leave us? Group A ended with France at the top and Norway in second, with the Nigerian squad through to the Round of 16 by the skin of their teeth, and South Korea eliminated. Group B had Germany in first position with Spain in second, while China will go through to the Round of 16 and South Africa will head back home. In Group C it was Italy in the top position with Australia coming in second and Brazil in third. All three will advance, while Jamaica is out. England finished at the top of Group D with Japan in second place, and both will move on. Argentina and Scotland weren’t so lucky, and both will exit. And in group E, the Netherlands finished first, though Canada and Cameroon joining them in the Round of 16 in second and third place. New Zealand is out, womp womp. Finally, in Group F it’s the USWNT in first position and Sweden in second; both will advance, while Chile and Thailand are finished.
So what’s on deck this weekend? Tomorrow it’s Germany vs Nigeria at 11:30am ET, followed by Norway vs Australia at 3pm ET. (My bets are on Germany and Australia, but anything can happen!) Sunday, meanwhile, we’ve got England vs Cameroon at 11:30am ET and France vs Brazil at 3pm ET. (For that round, I think we’ll see England and France advance, but again, don’t take my word for it!)
Finally, let’s talk headlines!
- Here’s the full Round of 16 bracket for you to peruse.
- We (meaning the USWNT) finished this round with a perfect scorecard!
- Meanwhile, US Soccer and the 28 USWNT player suing them for pay discrimination have tentatively agreed to mediation post-WWC.
- And seen some majorly dramatic PKs get retaken due to goalkeepers coming off their lines, but they won’t get cards for that anymore, and here’s why.
Check back in on Monday for a recap of this weekend’s matches, as well as what you need to know going into next week!