What a World Cup it has been so far!
The final round of group games saw some unpredictable results that have set us up for some exciting encounters as we enter the knockout stages of the tournament.
Here are my thoughts and predictions for each Round of 16 matchup.
Germany vs. Sweden
1 p.m. PT on Saturday, June 20 (CTV)
Tough game for both these two teams, Germany ranked number 1 and Sweden ranked number 5 in the world. Both would have been hoping to make the semifinals at a minimum. It would take a huge performance for the Swedes to knock off the tournament favourites given the scorelines of recent encounters, but anything is possible at a World Cup!
Prediction: 1-0 Germany
China vs. Cameroon
4:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, June 20 (CTV)
Cameroon surprised everyone in their last group game, beating Switzerland 3-2. Cameroon will go in as the underdogs for this game, but China will have to be prepared for Cameroon’s unpredictable front line, their speed and creativity proving difficult for many opponents.
Prediction: 2-1 China
Brazil vs. Australia
10 a.m. PT on Sunday, June 21 (TSN)
This is an interesting matchup. Brazil enters the round of 16 with all nine points, while Australia progressed in second place out of the group of death with some very impressive performances. This could prove to be a very close match – both teams are very attacking minded, with front lines that have proven to be able to score against any team.
Prediction: 2-1 Brazil
France vs. Korea Republic
1 p.m. PT on Sunday, June 21 (CTV/TSN)
Korea Republic made history in their last game, as they knocked off Spain to progress into the knockout stages for the first time. They will be riding a high from this last game, but will face a tough opponent in France, who put five passed Mexico to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Colombia.
Prediction: 3-0 France
Canada vs. Switzerland
4:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, June 21 (CTV/TSN)
After making history by progressing on top of their group, Canada will be pleased to be back in Vancouver for the Round of 16. I am expecting this to be a fast paced, exciting encounter. Both teams are well structured and have exciting players up top to watch for. The home crowd will be a massive advantage for Canada – so make sure you get out to watch this game, and let the team know how much you are behind them!
Prediction: 2-0 Canada
Norway vs. England
2 p.m. PT on Monday, June 22 (TSN)
This will be a close encounter. The Norwegians will be confident after picking up seven points in the pool play including a draw with number one ranked Germany. However, England do appear to be growing into this tournament. After their loss in the first round to France, they have picked up six points to progress in second place.
Prediction: 0-0 (Norway progress on penalties)
USA vs. Colombia
5 p.m. PT on Monday, June 22 (TSN)
The USA will be happy with where they’re at entering the knockout stages – qualifying first in the group of death. They will need to be careful not to underestimate Colombia however. Colombia have risen to every game in this tournament so far, playing with a huge amount of self-belief. Their 2-0 win over France, a draw with Mexico and a narrow loss to England shows that the Colombians have not been overwhelmed by any occasion in this tournament.
Prediction: 3-1 USA
Japan vs. Netherlands
7 p.m. PT on Tuesday, June 23 (TSN)
Despite being the first team to qualify for the Round of 16, the reigning world champions Japan have been relatively quiet in the tournament. Their performances haven’t matched the standard of play that won them the World Cup four years ago. However, I am still expecting the Japanese to hit another level - they have a lot of tournament experts in their side and know what it takes to win games in the knockout stages. Ultimately, their experience will be hard to match for the Dutch, who are playing in their first ever WWC.
Prediction: 1-0 Japan
Game of the round: Germany vs. Sweden
Led by Emma Humphries, Whitecaps FC are holding a camp centred around the World Cup (including tickets to the final at BC Place, which is already sold out). As part of the camp, girls will have the opportunity to come and interact/learn from the Girls Elite REX coaching staff.