Norway vs Australia

Norway vs Australia Preview: Will Sam Kerr prove the difference?

When Ada Hegerberg announced she wouldn’t be taking to the biggest stage in women’s football this summer, Norway’s slim chances of success in France took a huge and potentially fatal hit. Winner of the first Women’s Ballon d’Or last year, the Lyon striker scored a hat-trick in the Champions League final against Barcelona, and her country was expected to really struggle without her. So far, so good, though, as they prepare for a clash with Australia in the last 16.

Both of these sides have won two of three games at the World Cup so far. Norway beat Nigeria and South Korea, but lost narrowly to France, while Australia bounced back from an opening game defeat to Italy with six points, and seven goals scored, against Brazil and Jamaica. The different styles of these sides have been evident throughout the tournament; though Norway put a rather poor Nigeria side to the sword, winning 3-0, both their other games were tight and decided by the odd goal in three. 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

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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Australia vs Italy

Australia vs Italy Preview: Azzurre peaking at the right time?

The Women’s World Cup continues with Australia vs Italy, a clash that will go a long way towards deciding which of these two nations advance to the next round, with Brazil and Jamaica rounding out Group C.

Australia arrive in France ranked as the 6th best team in the world and are the seeded side in this four-team pool, making them favourites to top the group. They are expected to win this opening match, despite the upheaval that followed the decision to sack Coach Alen Stajcic back in January.

Months of turmoil followed, but the Matildas are now led by former Australia international Ante Milicic. They won the inaugural Cup of Nations earlier this year yet went on to lose each of their two previous outings, beaten 5-3 by the United States and 3-0 by the Netherlands, meaning they will be looking to return to form against Italy. Read More

World Cup 2018, Day 13 Review: Rojo saves the day

There were four more games at the World Cup today, and some of them even had something happen in them. Denmark vs France, however, was not one of them. The Danes had just four shots, with none in the box, and Didier Deschamps’ side’s three shots on target were all from over the hill and far away (or outside the penalty area, in other words).

Raphael Varane was the man of the match, but he did that with the second lowest points tally of an ‘MOTM’ at the tournament so far. While France had already qualified, they still put out a strong XI, but it made little difference.

The likes of Griezmann and Giroud picked up fewer attacking points than Kasper Schmeichel, which probably says a lot. As does the fact that none of the top 11 performers in the match picked up any points for shots.

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World Cup 2018, Day 8 Review: Rampant Rakitic

As the days and games tick by, we continue to see teams sent home from the tournament. Thursday’s casualties were Peru, who followed their defeat to Denmark on Saturday with a 1-0 loss to France.

It was perhaps a little surprising they bit the dust so early. Many people had thought they could be dark horses at the tournament and do reasonably well, but for most that was probably based entirely on this clip rather than anything more concrete.

That goal was against Croatia too, but more on them shortly. Kylian Mbappe scored the goal which put Peru out, and he was the game’s top performer in our view. But to my mind it was Paul Pogba who deserves the accolades, as he had a key creative role in France’s two top quality chances.

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World Cup 2018, Day 3 Review: Penalties Galore!

After day two featured plenty of late goals (and you can read more about that here), the theme of day three was penalties. All four matches featured at least one, and there were two in the opening game between France and Australia.

VAR played a part in some of the decisions, and five penalties across four games is absurdly high; for context, there were six penalties in the last six weeks of the 2017/18 Premier League season, or 0.1 per game.

However, despite Griezmann and Jedinak both slotting home their penalties, it was Paul Pogba who Twelve rated as the best player in the opening match on Saturday.

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