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2015 Women's World Cup

Women’s World Cup — Day 6 Preview

Following a day off Wednesday the World Cup resumes with four games on Thursday.  It is round two of three for the group stage and several teams enter the day with a chance to book their ticket to the knockout phase.  Here is a look:

Group B – Germany (1-0-0) vs Norway (1-0-0)
Thursday, 4 pm EDT
Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa

Barring an earthshaking result on the last day, this match will decide the winner of Group B.  Both were on song in their opening matches but neither proved much against inexperienced sides that were out of their element against these two former world champions.  About the only bad thing to happen for either side was the injury to Germany’s Melanie Leupolz.  Norway kept the ball on the ground more than we are accustomed to, but that may not be a tactic that can work against Germany.  The latter will want to have goalkeeper Nadine Angerer tested to see if she still has the goods for the international game.

Reality is that both of these teams are going to advance.  The winner here is in officially and probably wins the group.  Should they draw, and assuming they both win their final group matches, it will come down to goal difference, an area Germany leads by a half dozen.

Group A – China (0-1-0) vs Netherlands (1-0-0)
Thursday, 6 pm EDT
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Five days after becoming the only team in Women’s World Cup history to win its debut match against a  team with previous experience, Netherlands can sail on to the Round of 16 if the feat  can be duplicated against China.  The match should be a fascinating contrast in styles.  Netherlands came loaded with scoring talent looking to make a splash on the world stage.  China arrived as one of the most disciplined and organized defensive sides but not much by way of offensive prowess.  The defense held Canada in check into stoppage time yielding only a penalty that cost them a point.

Netherlands had a physical battle against New Zealand and may be faced with a goalkeeper change after Loes Geurts took a knock.

Group B – Ivory Coast (0-1-0) vs Thailand (0-1-0)
Thursday, 7 pm EDT
Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa

Few on these shores had ever seen either of these two teams play before last Sunday, and even though they were outscored by a joint 14-0 there are three good reasons to tune in to this one.  The first is that despite the lopsided scores both teams should they could do at least some things well.  Both were decent in the counter.  Thailand were quick and well organized in back.  Ivory Coast refused to sit back and showed some width in the few attacking chances they had.

The second reason is that this will likely be the only chance either will have to earn points at the World Cup, and the third is that the uneven format and imbalance draw suggest if there is a winner they will have a chance to move on.  A draw though will be a death knell to both unless other teams lose by a lot to overturn the goal difference.

Group A – Canada (1-0-0) vs New Zealand (0-1-0)
Tuesday, 9 pm EDT
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

John Herdman will be the first of two coaches to face an old team when he runs Canada out against New Zealand (guessing you know Pia Sundhage against the United States is the other).  Herdman led the Kiwis to a pair of World Cups but never won a match.  Last Saturday Herdman beat his former team to the punch by beating China 1-0 while New Zealand lost by the same score to the Netherlands.  And on Wednesday Herdman let loose about the superiority of his current team to his former.

If Herdman’s players perform to his standards and Canada win it will mean a trip to the knockout round for the first time since 2003.  On the flip side a New Zealand loss will put them up against it and likely leave them needing outside assistance for a chance to progress.  Herdman said all players will be available which means in theory we could see Rhian Wilkinson or even Diana Matheson off the bench.


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