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Six pack of WWC questions: Saturday quarterfinals

The Women’s World Cup is flying by. To think there is only just over a week left is actually quite frightening. Saturday’s matches are extremely enticing: Host and favorite Germany takes on Japan and in the breakthrough game of the quarterfinal stage, France and England – both underdogs – will square off for a shot at the semifinals. Here is a six pack of WWC questions for Saturday’s quarterfinals:

  1. Can Germany handle the pressure? The Germans are getting serious media attention on the domestic front. Anything short of a third-straight Women’s World Cup title will bring disappointment to the host nation. Can Germany handle that? Crashing out in the quarterfinals would be tragic for this squad.
  2. Which Japan will show up? Japan looked like the best team in the tournament through two games played before losing to England 2-0 in the final group stage game. Can Japan pull off an upset? It will take more spectacular performances from Homare Sawa and Aya Miyama in the midfield.
  3. Is France actually favored? France has really been one of the most impressive teams in this tournament and, in the country’s first-ever quarterfinal appearance, it actually be favored against England. Louisa Necib has been a breakout player in this tournament, as has Gaëtane Thiney.
  4. Can Marie-Laure Delie lead the French? She has two goals this tournament and has led France over the last year. She’ll need to be active to help France succeed. Against a questionable English back line, she should prove dangerous.
  5. Is England ready for a complete performance? The Three Lions put in an incredible 90 minutes in a 2-0 win over Japan on Tuesday after two underwhelming outings prior to that. Can England find consistency? If Ellen White keeps scoring like she did against Japan, England should do just fine.
  6. Will we get one or two surprise semifinalists? We are guaranteed one with England or France going through, but if Japan can beat Germany, this will be one seriously wild tournament.

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