Japan and Brazil Lead the Way Following Women’s World Cup 2015 Group Stage
The national women’s football teams from Japan and Brazil won three games apiece in the Women’s World Cup 2015 group stage, establishing themselves as early tournament frontrunners. The FIFA tournament will now move into the knockout stage, with the round of 16 set to begin tomorrow (20th June 2015). Other knockout stage qualifiers include England, the United States, France, Germany, and the Canadian host team.
Groups A, B, and C
The group stage for the 2015 Women’s World Cup was split into six groups of four. The top two teams from each qualified to advance to the round of 16, as did the four highest ranked third-place teams.
Of all the groups in the tournament, Group A likely proved to be the weakest. Despite having the home field advantage, the Canadian women’s national team only managed one victory (in a tournament opener against China). Luckily, the Canadian hosts also avoided a loss, drawing fixtures with New Zealand and the Netherlands to finish at the top of A. China finished second to earn knockout stage qualification, and the Netherlands advanced as one of the stronger third-place football squads.
Group B saw the biggest win of the tournament so far, when Germany crushed the Ivory Coast 10-0 in their first game of the tournament. That victory propelled the Germans to a goal difference of +14—the best in the entire tournament, by seven goals—as well as to a spot at the top of Group B. Norway will also advance from B, while Thailand and the Ivory Coast have both been knocked out of contention.
Japan’s run in Group C was impressive for different reasons. While Germany had a huge win, they also settled for a draw in one of their three matches (a 1-1 stalemate with Norway). Meanwhile, Japan showed a “slow and steady wins the race” mentality, winning all three of their games (against Switzerland, Cameroon, and Ecuador), but only winning by a one-point margin each time. Cameroon and Switzerland will also advance to the knockouts of the Women’s World Cup 2015.
Groups D, E, and F
American football fans were energized and engaged in last summer’s World Cup, when the United States men’s team beat the odds to make it out of a “group of death” against Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. The USA women’s team took that energy and ran with it, beating Australia and Nigeria and drawing with Sweden to top Group D. Australia took second place, thanks to a win over Nigeria, while Sweden was the last third-place team to qualify for the Women’s World Cup 2015 finals, scoring three draws and zero losses in Group D.
Like Japan, Brazil’s women’s team won all of their group stage matches to secure one of the only “perfect records” in the tournament. Brazil also didn’t allow their opponents to score a single goal in any of their Group E fixtures—beating South Korea 2-0, and managing 1-0 wins against both Spain and Costa Rica. South Korea earned a berth in the round of 16, while Spain and Costa Rica were eliminated.
Finally, Group F proved to be the most competitive group in the Women’s World Cup 2015. Both France and England won two games and lost the third to tie at the top of the group rankings. France edged out the wearers of the England women’s home jersey 2014 – 2015, thanks to the superior goal difference provided by a 5-0 win against Mexico. Meanwhile, Colombia finished the stage as the top-ranked third-place team.
So which of these teams will progress to the quarterfinals? Based on their perfect groups record and their status as the defending Women’s World Cup champions, Japan is the most obvious pick to advance. They’ll play the Netherlands on June 23rd.
Other match-ups are similarly easy to call, based on group stage performance. On the 20th, Germany is likely to beat Sweden; on the 21st, Brazil will edge out Australia, France will defeat South Korea, and Canada will top Switzerland; and on the 22nd, the United States will eliminate Colombia. That leaves two matches that are more difficult to predict: a June 20th bout between China and Cameroon, and a June 22nd face-off between England and Norway. Support England today, with a new England women’s football jersey from Soccer Box!
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