Women’s World Cup: Round of 16 Preview

Two weeks and 36 matches later, we have finally made it to the knockout stages of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. What started as 24 teams has been whittled down to the last 16, who will compete for a spot in the quarterfinals. Action from France resumes on Saturday with a pair of games, a trend that will continue through Tuesday. When the dust settles, eight teams will remain standing for a shot at winning the Women’s World Cup in Lyon.

Before the action kicks off, read our in depth overview of the teams and matches that will make of the Round of 16.

The Teams

via @FOXSoccer

Let’s begin our Round of 16 preview with a glance at the teams who will be taking part. Teams are listed in the order in which they finished in their respective groups.

Group A

France: Playing as host can bring a lot of pressure, but it was no problem for France in group stage play as they swept through all three matches, taking home all nine points available. They crushed South Korea in the opener then faced tougher tests against Norway and Nigeria but found a way to win which is what good teams often do.

Norway: Defeated Nigeria and South Korea as expected and put together a strong showing against France even in a loss. They will face a stiff test against Australia in the Round of 16, but should they advance, will be a formidable foe in the quarters. It is really too bad they don’t have Ada Hegerberg at their disposal for this tournament.

Nigeria: Did not fair well against Norway but defeated South Korea and did just enough to advance to the knockout stages. Took France to the very end, losing on a controversial VAR ruling that gave the French a re-kick on a missed penalty. Got the help they needed on the final day of group play to move on as a third place team.

Group B

Germany: Another pre-tournament favorite to sent a message with three wins in three attempts in group play. Lost superstar midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan due to a toe injury but only kept getting better. They didn’t pour in the goals early, sneaking by China and Spain with identical 1-0 scorelines. Offense broke out against South Africa and they still have yet to allow a goal in France.

Spain: It’s already been a historic World Cup for Spain, defeating South Africa to win their first ever Women’s World Cup match then advancing to the knockout round for the first time. A loss to Germany in the second match was a bit of a setback but they looked like a confident team. A draw with China sent them through to the Round of 16 as Group B runner-up.

China: This may not be the China of old, but they are still a formidable foe and can defend very well. They only allowed one goal in the group stage that came in a 1-0 loss to Germany. On the opposite end, the offense is still missing, scoring just one goal in the group stage. That goal came in a 1-0 defeat over South Africa. Their draw against Spain was enough to send them through, although Spain looked like the much stronger side.

Group C

Italy: Perhaps the biggest surprise of the group stage was Italy’s performance, topping a highly competitive Group C. Wins over Australia and Jamaica put the Italians in a good spot to win the group and they did just that even with a loss in the final group match against Brazil. Both the offense and defense have been clicking on all cylinders and Italy looks like a sudden dark horse threat to make some more noise.

Australia: It wasn’t looking good for Australia after losing to Italy in their first match, then it looked even worse when they fell behind Brazil 2-0 in match two. Then came the furious comeback that saw them score three unanswered goals to defeat Brazil and they have been rolling ever since. A 4-1 victory over Jamaica was just enough to push them past Brazil for second in Group C.

Brazil: This is the second Women’s World Cup that utilizes the third place advancement system and Brazil is the first team to ever finish in third place with six point. Wins over Jamaica and Italy helped them get here, but a blown lead against Australia prevented them from possibly winning the group outright. They still have talent all over the field, but a showdown with France could be their undoing.

Group D

England: It’s been a ho-hum tournament thus far for the Lionesses, taking all three group games for the first time in history. Wins over Scotland and Argentina set up a showdown with Japan for the Group D title and they delivered a strong performance to prevail with the victory. They now sit in the top quarter of the bracket, meaning they avoid one of France or the United States until the semifinals.

Japan: A draw with Argentina in the opening match set off warning signs around this Japan squad, but they bounced back and defeated Scotland in the second match to right the ship. They looked good at times against England but could not convert any of their chances. That result meant they settled for second place and a meeting with the Netherlands.

Group E

Netherlands: Sexy dark horse pick before the tournament, now a rapidly filling bandwagon as the Dutch rolled through Group E with three wins and all nine points. A late goal pushed them past New Zealand then they a much more clinical performance gave them an easy win over Cameroon. They wrapped up Group E in the final match, defeating Canada 2-1 to seal the deal.

Canada: In what could be the last Women’s World Cup for Christine Sinclair, Canada looked like a real threat with two stellar performances against Cameroon and New Zealand, but it all fell apart against the Netherlands. Sinclair scored her 182nd career international goal against the Dutch, but her team was not good enough to pull out the victory. They get a favorable matchup against Sweden in the Round of 16, but Germany likely awaits in the quarters.

Cameroon: It took until the very last kick of group stage play, but Cameroon found a way to beat New Zealand and book their spot in the Round of 16 for the second straight tournament. They only got the single win after losses to Canada and the Netherlands, but it was enough to put them into the Round of 16 for a meeting with England.

Group F

United States: Three matches, three wins, 18 goals scored, and winning Group F. You could not have drawn up a better start to this Women’s World Cup for the defending champions, but now it starts to get serious. Sweden was the only real test for the United States in Group F and they passed with flying colors. Now onto the knockouts where Spain awaits.

Sweden: All hope of winning Group F for Sweden came down to beating the United States but it was not meant to be. They still put in a solid overall showing, especially against weaker opponents Chile and Thailand. Two wins was more than enough for a second place finish and a very winnable match with Canada in the Round of 16.

Those are you 16 teams who will be playing in the Round of 16 beginning today at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Each one is well deserving of its place in the knockout stages, but unfortunately for eight of them, this will be the end of the line.

The Bracket

A look at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup bracket as it stands heading into the Round of 16.

via @FOXSoccer

Round of 16 Matches

A quick preview of all eight matches making up the Round of 16. Matches will be played between Saturday and Tuesday with winners advancing to play in the quarterfinals late next week.

These are win or go home scenarios from here on out, draws are not an acceptable result. If a match is tied after 90 minutes, the teams will play two 15 minute halves of extra time. If the game remains tied after extra time, it will go to a penalty shootout to determine a winner.

Germany (1B) v. Nigeria (3A)

Nigeria waited until the dying minutes of the final group stage matches to learn if they would even qualify for the Round of 16. Much to their excitement, Chile won but not by enough and Nigeria were rewarded for their waiting with a match against Germany. It should be an easy win for Germany, but beware, Nigeria gave fellow favorite France a serious fight in their match on Monday.

  • Date: Saturday, June 32nd
  • Time: 11:30 AM
  • Location: Stade des Alpes (Grenoble)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Prediction: Germany 3, Nigeria 0

Norway (2A) v. Australia (2C)

Two pre-tournament dark horses meet here in the Round of 16 where only one can move on to the quarterfinals. Norway and Australia both recorded solid showings in group play and look like they could be a threat in the knockouts. Of all the matches in the Round of 16, this may be near the top of the list to watch.

  • Date: Saturday, June 22nd
  • Time: 3:00 PM
  • Location: Stade de Nice (Nice)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Prediction: Australia 3, Norway 2

England (1D) v. Cameroon (3E)

England comfortably reached this stage with three group wins while Cameroon needed an injury time goal against New Zealand to qualify. This is a historic second straight trip to the knockouts for Cameroon but they will be running into a Lionesses side that is playing at the top of their game. Unless Cameroon can get ahead early and force England into mistakes, this should be a lopsided affair.

  • Date: Sunday, June 23rd
  • Time: 11:30 AM
  • Location: Stade du Hainaut (Valenciennes)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Prediction: England 3, Cameroon 1

France (1A) v. Brazil (3C)

When the groups and bracket were revealed, this was never going to an easy match for France, assuming they won Group A. Brazil, Italy, and Australia were all crammed into Group C and all three were going to be outs for France. Brazil may not be the force it was in past years, but they still won two group matches and only finished third because of a second tiebreaker. France will be favorites, but Brazil is by no means any pushover.

  • Date: Sunday, June 23rd
  • Time: 3:00 PM
  • Location: Stade Océane (Le Havre)
  • How to Watch: FOX

Prediction: France 2, Brazil 1

Spain (2B) v. United States (1F)

It was business as usual for the United States in group play, but now it starts to get a little more serious. At this stage, you cannot afford even a single bad game, especially against a team of quality like Spain who are in the knockouts for the first time in their history. Good news for the Americans is they are battle tested and bring plenty of knockout experience into this match. Spain will be looking to attack on the counter, so an early goal for the Americans will put Spain on the back foot where they will become more vulnerable to attack as the game drags on.

  • Date: Monday, June 24th
  • Time: 12:00 PM
  • Location: Stade Auguste-Delaune (Reims)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Prediction: United States 3, Spain 0

Sweden (2F) v. Canada (2E)

Two sides that had a more than respectable showing in the group stage will now meet up with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. Sweden was always destined to finish second in Group F while Canada looked like the slight favorite to win Group E but fell to the Netherlands on Matchday 3. This match is truly a toss up between two sides who could cause havoc in a potential meeting with Germany in the next round.

  • Date: Monday, June 24th
  • Time: 3:00 PM
  • Location: Parc de Princes (Paris)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Prediction: Canada 1, Sweden 1 (Canada wins on penalties)

Italy (1C) v. China (3B)

Italy returned to the Women’s World Cup for the first time in 20 years and subsequently won Group C that included the likes of Brazil and Australia. They already had high expectations entering the tournament, now they have to be believe they can make a serious run. In their way stands China who acquitted themselves well in a tough Group B. Italy can fill the net but also play a strong defense while China hasn’t been an offensive powerhouse but only surrendered one goal in three group games. This could be another match that needs more than 90 minutes to determine a winner.

  • Date: Tuesday, June 25th
  • Time: 12:00 PM
  • Location: Stade de la Mosson (Montpelier)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Prediction: Italy 2, China 1 (Italy wins in extra time)

Netherlands (1E) v. Japan (2B)

Pre-tournament dark horse Netherlands showed everyone the hype was deserved with a clean sweep of group matches to win Group E over Canada. That hype train will now follow them into the Round of 16 where they will face 2011 champion and 2015 runner-up Japan with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. Japan came into France with dreams of another title, but falling to England in group play means they face a tough road ahead if they hope to return home with another trophy.

  • Date: Tuesday, June 25th
  • Time: 3:00 PM
  • Location: Roazhon Park (Rennes)
  • How to Watch: FS1

Prediction: Netherlands 2, Japan 1

That completes our overview of the eight matches that will compromise the Round of 16 stage at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The eight teams who emerge victorious will move onto the quarterfinals stage scheduled to begin on Thursday.

Golden Boot Outlook

The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goal scorer at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 8.35.49 PM

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all ten of the players who currently make up the Top 10 of the Golden Boot standings will be taking part in the Round of 16 beginning Saturday. The only question mark entering the round may be United States striker and co-goal scoring leader Alex Morgan, who suffered a knock against Sweden on Thursday.

Once the Round of 16 begins on Saturday, we will continuing with our daily Cupdates recapping the previous day of action along with a preview of what’s still to come as the tournament marches forward. Make sure you are checking back with us everyday to keep up to date on the latest news from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.