As the closing stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is on the horizon, the quarter-final round promises to be an exhilarating matchup. With only eight teams remaining, the competition is heating up, and the chances of claiming the prestigious trophy are within touching distance.
To kick off the first match on Friday, 11 August, Spain will take on the Netherlands.
Spain has had an impressive tournament so far, reaching the quarter-final for the first time in their history. Their attacking prowess has been remarkable, scoring the second-highest number of goals in the tournament so far.
Led by their talented midfielder Aitana Bonmatí, who has been exceptional in the midfield, Spain will be aiming to continue their goal-scoring exploits against the Dutch.
However, the Netherlands will be a formidable opponent, having reached the World Cup final in 2019. They possess a strong midfield, with midfielder Jill Roord already netting four goals in the tournament. Although the Netherlands will be without their midfielder Danielle van de Donk due to suspension, they have the firepower to challenge Spain’s defence.
Later on in the day, Japan will take on Sweden in what promises to be an intriguing battle. Japan is appearing strong in the tournament, displaying their previous championship-winning experience in 2011. They have been the most prolific goal scorers, finding the back of the net on 14 occasions while conceding only one goal. Led by attacking midfielder Hinata Miyazawa, who is currently leading the race for the Golden Boot with five goals, Japan will be brimming with confidence.
Sweden, however, cannot be taken lightly. They have excelled defensively, proving their ability against top-ranked teams like the USA in the round of 16. With goalkeeper Zecira Musovic performing exceptionally, Sweden will aim to continue their impressive defensive display. Ranked third, Sweden is no stranger to the quarter-finals, having reached this stage for the seventh time.
On Saturday, co-hosts Australia will face off against France. Australia has made it to this stage despite the absence of their star striker and captain, Sam Kerr. Their resilience and ability to perform without their taliswoman has been commendable.
France, on the other hand, is accustomed to reaching the latter stages of the competition, having made it to the quarter-final in four consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup’s. They showcased their attacking prowess with a resounding 4-0 victory over Morocco in the round of 16. With a range of scoring threats, including Kadidiatou Diani, Kenza Dali, and Eugenie Le Sommer, France will pose a significant challenge for the Matildas.
In the final quarter-final match, England will square off against Colombia. England had a hard-fought victory over Nigeria in the round of 16, finally prevailing through the penalty shootout. They have shown their dominance in the group stage, winning all of their matches, including a commanding 6-1 victory against China. Despite the absence of young star Lauren James due to suspension, England will rely on their experienced squad to progress further.
Colombia, ranked 25th, has been impressive defensively, conceding only two goals in the tournament so far. They managed to defeat strong countries, including South Korea and Germany in the group stage and toppled Jamaica in the round of 16. Forward Linda Caicedo, who is only 18 years old, has emerged as a standout player for Colombia.
With the quarter-finals taking place on August 11 and 12, the excitement and anticipation is building up.
The winners of the matches will advance to the semi-final round, scheduled for August 15 and 16. The battle for third place will take place on August 19, followed by the much-anticipated final on August 20.
As the tournament progresses, expect thrilling matches filled with skill, determination, and drama. The race for the FIFA Women’s World Cup title is reaching its climax, and the remaining teams will leave no stone unturned in their quest to lift the trophy.