Italy vs Brazil

Italy vs Brazil Preview: A Classic To Conjure Memories Of 1982?

Italy may have already secured their place in the next round, but their final Group C encounter with Brazil still promises to be an intriguing clash as the latter also hope to advance. The Seleção will need to better Australia’s result against Jamaica to guarantee they remain in the competition, a tall order given the form of their next opponent.

Having reached the World Cup for the first time in 20 years, Italy have been one of the most surprising teams in France this summer, notching wins over Jamaica and Australia to sit comfortably atop the table with one round of matches remaining.

Milena Bertolini has been excellent thus far, the coach deploying her side in a basic 4-4-2 formation but constantly shifting her players around in order to exploit opposition weaknesses in each fixture. Read More

Jamaica vs Australia

Jamaica vs Australia Preview: The round of 16 beckons for the Matildas.

We’ve reached that point in the competition where the permutations get scrutinised and broken down. Where anything less than a victory could see a team either miss out on a 100% record in the group stages and finishing top of their group or get knocked out. Its matchday three and a crucial matchday for two of the four nations in Group C.

Brazil and Australia are on the cusp of qualifying for the round of 16 and both sides are looking to seal their passage to the knockout stages without the need for strenuous calculation.

The South American heavyweights take on group leaders and the already-qualified and unbeaten Italians in Tuesday’s final group clash – an incredibly tough assignment for a team that does not have its fate entirely in its own hands. Meanwhile, the Matildas have it a little easier, they’re up against newcomers Jamaica, who’ve already collected two hidings from the Brazilians and Azzure.

Therefore, the Australians are expected to supply the Reggae Girls with another mean beating, to finish on a positive goal difference, but their biggest concern will be what Italy do in the corresponding match against the Selecao. Read More

China vs Spain

China vs Spain Preview: Chance for both teams to reach the last 16

As we enter the final match day of the group stage, China vs Spain, a group B encounter which takes place at Le Havre, will decide who will join likely group winners Germany in the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup.

Looking at the current standings, La Roja are second on virtue of a better goal difference and a draw on Monday will be enough for them to go through. From China’s viewpoint, by knowing that the four best third-placed teams will also reach the last-16, they may qualify even if they don’t beat Spain.

Currently, they are second in the best-ranked third-placed teams and a point is enough for them to contest a potential last-16 match against possible group D winners England or Group C winners Italy. With the qualifying scenarios put aside, let us take a look at how the two sets of players have performed so far. Read More

Nigeria vs France

Nigeria vs France Preview: Could France Tank, And Should They?

The World Cup has once again thrown up a curious mix of incentives, and France find themselves in an odd spot. With six points from the first two games, getting out of the group is secure, and anything less than a 4-0 defeat here will at least see the side finish second.

Winning the group would see Les Bleues face a third place finisher in the round of 16, but a potentially brutal quarter final against the United States could await. Would it be better for France to lose this game and get an easier run of games? How you feel about this might say more about you than the World Cup.

Many will argue that momentum is what matters, and building confidence with another win will help propel this side to a World Cup win. On the other hand, the risk of going out to the US in the quarter finals would be an embarrassing end for a France side tipped by many to win this home tournament. It seems unlikely that the French would just completely throw this game. It would not be a surprise, though, to see a few players rested for the knockout stage. Read More

USA vs Chile Preview

USA vs Chile Preview: The Merciless March Onwards

With host nation France enjoying a strong start to the tournament through a 4-0 victory over South Korea, the United States were keen to make a statement in this opening round. They certainly did that. Such was the nature of USA’s 13-0 malevolent obliteration of Thailand, the statement made shifted from one about their own prowess to a wider one about the state of the mixed professionalisation of the women’s game.

Thailand’s team is supported by the private sector, specifically one single company, Muang Thai Insurance. This allows the squad to exist now in a professional capacity but this relationship does not go back long enough to have produced a generation of athletes on the same level that the US have.

The athletic and technical tiers that separated the two sides meant that the US would have sealed victory in this game with only the most basic of organisational preparation. This was not the case, however, and Jill Ellis started the match by showcasing her side’s default 4-3-3. Read More

Netherlands vs Cameroon

Netherlands vs Cameroon Preview: The Battle of the Lionesses

Following their unexpected victory at the 2017 European Championship on home soil, the Netherlands have often been regarded as favourites against any opposition. That didn’t change in the build-up to their Group E opener against New Zealand. And although it was billed as a heavyweight mismatch, what followed was anything but.

A defensive masterclass from the Football Ferns stifled the famously deadly Dutch attack, who struggled to pose any real danger and were unable to break down a stubborn backline – until the dramatic dying moments, when substitute Jill Roord finished from close range. The relief was evident, but Sarina Wiegman and her Orange Lionesses will not want to leave it so late against Cameroon.

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England vs Argentina

England vs Argentina Preview: Can The Lionesses Hit Their Stride?

It wasn’t perfect, but England’s performance against Scotland saw them over the line in the end. Phil Neville’s side have never been a afforded a better chance to win a World Cup, with a squad packed with experience and quality likely to threaten any opponent.

They showed as much in the first half in Nice, leading 2-0 by the break thanks to goals from Nikita Parris and Ellen White; but an opportunity missed by Scotland’s Erin Cuthbert just before half time and a disallowed strike by Beth Mead 30 seconds after galvanised Shelley Kerr and her team.

As the Lionesses tired and became sloppy, Scotland grew in confidence, halving the deficit late on and going close to grabbing a draw. England head into Friday’s clash with Argentina expected to win comfortably once again, but they certainly must improve in some areas if they are to dominate the game in the way that they should. Read More

Jamaica vs Italy

Jamaica vs Italy Preview: Azzurre to seal knock-out spot?

After winning their opening match at the World Cup, Italy will be looking to continue a surprisingly good start when they take on Jamaica at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims. The Azzurre beat Australia 2-1 in their first fixture while their next opponent lost 3-0 to Brazil, but know all about dealing with adversity.

Jamaica had to navigate a notoriously tough path through the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, eventually securing a place in France after beating Panama on penalties to reach the tournament for the first time in their history.

Back in 2010, their national football federation cut funding for the women’s team and completely disbanded it, only for Cedella Marley to pick up the baton four years later. She became the team’s ambassador and funded the team through her father’s charity, the Bob Marley Foundation. Read More

South Africa vs China

South Africa vs China Preview: A defensive masterclass required

Very little was expected of World Cup debutantes South Africa, in their opening match against Spain, but they used that to their advantage in Le Havre on Saturday as they made the Spaniards sweat profusely for well over an hour.

Having made history already by qualifying, they sweetened things by scoring their first goal of the showpiece and it was none other than the best player on the African continent, Thembi Kgatlana, who netted a fine chip over the goalkeeper in the 25th minute.

The 23-year old forward’s celebrations told a story of a team that was intent on defying the odds, or at least go down trying, as she cupped her ear as though she was asking the naysayers “you were saying?”. Read More

Australia vs. Brazil Preview: A Yellow Kind Of Play

Who would’ve said that Australia would lose their first match at the Women’s World Cup against Italy, when the Italians were making their debut? A very poor start for the Matildas. Not quite disastrous, and given that the better third-placed teams qualify for the next round, there is still a long way to go. But Australia now need to beat Brazil on Thursday to retain hope of topping Group C. And that won’t be easy.

Against Jamaica, Brazil were obviously the better team and won by an easy 3-0. Brazil might not be among the main challengers for this World Cup, but they showed enough here to suggest they will be dangerous. And all without Marta. At the very least, they’ll be delighted to have ended their nine-game losing run.

Comparing the two sides with Twelve’s tools, we can see Brazilian striker Cristiane leading with 3,192 points. Mostly because of her three goals scored, as she offered a poor production in attack actions and didn’t have a single important defensive action.


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