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Women’s World Cup: Guide to the round of 16

| 03.08.2023

The line-up for the Women’s World Cup round of 16 in Australia and New Zealand was completed on Thursday as Colombia and Morocco claimed the final two spots.

The knockout stage gets under way this weekend so here we look at the eight games to come.

Switzerland v Spain – Saturday, Auckland

Switzerland advanced to the Women’s World Cup round of 16 in solid if unspectacular fashion, beating the Philippines 2-0 before goalless draws with Norway and New Zealand en route to finishing top of their group.

Spain scored eight goals without reply across games against Costa Rica and Zambia, then were thrashed 4-0 by Japan. Both sides are aiming to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Japan v Norway – Saturday, Wellington

Japan’s stunning victory over the Spaniards, which saw some superb counter-attacking play, came after beating Zambia 5-0 and Costa Rica 2-0. In Hinata Miyazawa, the 2011 winners and 2015 runners-up have this tournament’s joint top-scorer, with four goals.

Norway – champions in 1995 – recovered from a slow start to qualify as group runners-up with a thumping 6-0 win over the Philippines, which saw Ballon d’Or-winning forward Ada Hegerberg sidelined for a second successive match.

Netherlands v South Africa – Sunday, Sydney

2019 World Cup runners-up the Netherlands, whose record scorer Vivianne Miedema is absent from this tournament as she recovers from an ACL injury, impressed in the group stage with a 1-1 draw against the United States, the team that beat them in the final four years ago, and a 7-0 thrashing of Vietnam.

South Africa, ranked at 54 in the world, are through to the Women’s World Cup round of 16 for the first time in their history, a spot clinched in dramatic fashion when Thembi Kgatlana’s stoppage-time goal secured a 3-2 win over Italy, their first ever World Cup finals victory. The winner of this match will face either Switzerland or Spain in the quarters.

Sweden v United States – Sunday, Melbourne

World number three-ranked Sweden, who were runners-up in 2003 and third for a third time in 2019, recorded a 100 per cent record as they won Group B.

Reigning and four-time champions the United States almost suffered a shock elimination in their final group game, with Portugal’s Ana Capeta hitting a post in stoppage time of a 0-0 draw that saw the Americans take second place in Group E. The victors here will go on to face those from the Japan v Norway contest.

England v Nigeria – Monday, Brisbane

European champions England, whose best World Cup performance was third in 2015, have the likes of captain Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby not with them due to injury but registered three wins in Group D, with 21-year-old forward Lauren James starring, scoring three superb goals and providing three assists.

They face a Nigeria outfit ranked 40 in the world, who in their group games pulled off a shock 3-2 victory over Australia in between 0-0 draws with Canada and the Republic of Ireland.

Australia v Denmark – Monday, Sydney

The co-hosts ended top of Group B after bouncing back from the Nigeria match to beat Canada 4-0 and have star striker Sam Kerr ready to enter the fray, having been unavailable for their first two games because of a calf issue.

Denmark advanced as Group D runners-up, with a 1-0 loss to England sandwiched by victories over China (1-0) and Haiti (2-0).

Colombia v Jamaica – Tuesday, Melbourne

Colombia reached the knockout stages for the first time after a dramatic 2-1 victory over Germany in their second match helped them claim top spot in Group H. They take on a Jamaica outfit who are also first-timers at this stage following a memorable group campaign.

The world number 43-ranked Reggae Girlz held France and Brazil to 0-0 draws and beat Panama 1-0 for their maiden World Cup finals win. The sides play for the right to take on either England or Nigeria.

France v Morocco – Tuesday, Adelaide

After being held by Jamaica, France beat Brazil 2-1 before a chaotic 6-3 win over Panama saw them take Group F top spot.

They now face the lowest-ranked side left in the competition in Morocco (72 in the world), whose remarkable debut World Cup finals campaign has seen them recover from a 6-0 hammering by Germany to beat both South Korea and Colombia 1-0. The winner will go on to play Australia or Denmark.

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Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.