2015 Women’s World Cup Canada: Knockout Stage Predictions – Take 2

June 18, 2015

The largest ever Women’s World Cup to date can be labeled a success already. Adding eight teams over the 2011 tournament proved to be a brilliant idea, resulting in far more interesting games and notable upsets than blowout matches.

Now we are down to the final 16 teams, which will battle until one of them comes out a true winner. No more draws, folks.

Sixteen teams. Sixteen games. Are you ready?

Let’s take a look at the Round of 16 matches, followed by my predictions for the rest of the Knockout Stage.

Round of 16

Germany (1B) vs. Sweden (3D) – June 20, 4:00 PM ET – FS1

This is a monster matchup that not many people would have predicted would end up being a Round of 16 game. Sweden didn’t look particularly adept on the offensive end in group play, save a surprising 3-3 draw with Nigeria to begin the tournament. Germany was far more dominant, but played two of the weaker opponents in Thailand and Ivory Coast. In fact, all but one goal for the Germans came against those two squads. Expect the back four to play a crucial role for both teams in this one. Germany looked to be the better of the two squads coming into this one, so the No. 1 team survives.

My Pick: 2-1 Germany

China (2A) vs. Cameroon (2C) – June 20, 7:30 PM ET – FS1

Both of these teams proved to be tough opponents for the eventual winners of Groups A and C, so this should be a good one to watch as well. Cameroon is the first African team since 1999 to make it to the knockout round and could become the first African side to make it to the quarterfinals. There’s a lot to like about Cameroon, which came from behind to shock Switzerland and steal the second spot in Group C. But China plays with good discipline and won’t easily give away goals. This may be a bit of a stretch, but I think Cameroon will continue its good streak and do just enough to oust the Chinese.

My Pick: 2-1 Cameroon

Brazil (1E) vs. Australia (2D) – Sunday, 1:00 PM ET – FS1

Australia showed a lot of poise in the difficult Group D, absolutely earning its spot as the second best team in the pod. But the reward for such a performance is not envied by other teams, as the Matildas must face a Brazil squad that took all 9 points in an admittedly weaker Group E. The Aussies will likely be the first team to put the ball in the net on the Brazilians, but will it be enough to overcome the lack of a star player like Marta? My gut says no, which is why I have Brazil moving on here.

My Pick: 3-2 Brazil

France (1F) vs. South Korea (2E) – Sunday, 4:00 PM ET – FS1

My original pick to face the United States in the Final, France has been all over the map thus far. A surprise defeat at the hands of Colombia was followed up by a 5-0 thrashing of Mexico, which proved to be enough to propel the French to the top of Group F. South Korea has been much more consistent, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to “better”. The Koreans are the only squad left in the tournament with a negative goal differential, which is concerning heading into a game against an opponent with one of the world’s most powerful offensive attacks. France looks impressive in dispatching of South Korea.

My Pick: 3-0 France

Canada (1A) vs. Switzerland (3C) – Sunday, 7:30 PM ET – FS1

The home squad took care of business and won its group, but not in the prettiest fashion. Canada earned the fewest points of any group champion with five and mustered just one victory, a 1-0 win over China in the tournament opener. If the Canadians want to avoid an embarrassing early exit, the goals are going to need to come soon. Switzerland’s goal differential is grossly inflated thanks to a 10-1 victory over lowly Ecuador, but the team is still willing to be aggressive with the ball at its feet. I think that Canada will win, but it’ll be tense and do nothing to ease the home fans’ fear that trouble lays not too far ahead.

My Pick: 1-1 (4-3 PKs) Canada

Norway (2B) vs. England (2F) – Monday, 5:00 PM ET – FS1

This is one of the more evenly matched Round of 16 games, which also makes it one of the most difficult to predict. Both Norway and England did what was expected of them, with the one surprise being Norway’s draw with top ranked Germany. Unfortunately, doing exactly what is expected of you isn’t the way to play when it’s win or go home. Norway has a talented group up front that appear more willing to take risks than England’s side, which could end up being the difference in this match. Group F was far more competitive than Group B, but I like Norway despite that fact.

My Pick: 2-1 Norway

United States (1D) vs. Colombia (3D) – Monday, 8:00 PM ET – FS1

Those that haven’t followed this tournament very closely are probably pleased with the draw that the United States got for its first knockout round game. But Colombia is no slouch in this Women’s World Cup, pulling off one of the upsets of the tournament thus far when it took down France in Group F. The Stars and Stripes could have been a bit more aggressive in the second half of each of its group stage matches, but it’s hard to argue with 7 points out of the Group of Death. Additionally, Colombia’s victory over France did wonders for its reputation. The South American squad also tied Mexico and lost to England. The United States doesn’t appear to have hit its stride quite yet, but the moment when it all comes together could come in this game.

My Pick: 3-1 United States

Japan (1C) vs. Netherlands (3A) – Tuesday, 10:00 PM ET – FS1

Of the tournament favorites, Japan was the best of the bunch during group play. Not the most powerful offensively but always consistent and very talented at midfield, the Japanese stifled some pretty good teams on their way to a perfect nine points. It will take quite an effort to dominate Japan in the middle of the pitch and from what I saw over the past two weeks, that performance isn’t going to come from the Netherlands. The Dutch are one of the weakest teams left in the field in my opinion and will be at a major disadvantage in the possession game. Japan wins easily in this one.

My Pick: 2-0 Japan


Cameroon vs. United States – June 26

At this point Cameroon would be the tournament darlings, putting pressure on the American faithful to come out in droves and support their team. The United States is not known for taking any opponent lightly, so defeating Cameroon with a focused game plan should not be an issue. Should is the key word here.

My Pick: 2-1 United States

Germany vs. France – June 26

There’s no rest for the weary as a German. After taking out difficult Sweden, the world No. 1 will have to face the No. 3 ranked squad in France. Neither team has been in top form yet this tournament, but chances are one or both of them will come pretty close to that in order to win this game. It’s actually a shame that this matchup has to happen so early, but it will be a good one.

My Pick: 3-2 France

Brazil vs. Japan – June 27

Brazil isn’t a two woman squad, but it’s no secret which of these two teams relies more on individual performances. Marta or Cristiane need to get the ball in space in order to have a chance in this one. Japan will do everything it can to keep the ball away from the playmakers and has no issue settling for a one goal victory.

My Pick: 1-0 Japan

Norway vs. Canada – June 27

The Norwegians aren’t going to make a lot of friends in Canada after this one. The host country has been able to survive on mediocre offensive performances up to this point, but that will not fly in this game. Norway proved it was a true threat when it tied Germany in group play. This game won’t be as big of a shock as the fans’ faces will make it seem.

My Pick: 2-1 Norway


United States vs. France – June 30

My original Final prediction will happen a game early, but that won’t dampen the intensity one bit. France will be coming off of a huge victory over Germany which will bring with it a confidence boost, something that the United States won’t experience after its first two knockout round victories. This is where someone up front will need to step up. Will it be Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux…Wambach Part II? Time will tell, but if it does not happen then the United States will lose interest as a country in this tournament (i.e. France will win).

My Pick: 2-1 United States

Japan vs. Norway – July 1

This is the first game that Japan may actually feel the pressure on the back end. Norway is talented enough to put Japan into compromising positions, something that not many teams left in the tournament can do. This match will ultimately come down to ball possession, as games featuring Japan normally do, but the Norwegians will give the defending champions all it can handle.

My Pick: 2-2 (4-3 PKs) Japan

Third Place Game

France vs. Norway – July 4

Norway will have put its heart and soul into the Japan game and simply come up short. It will be a heart-wrenching experience and something that the squad will not be able to recover from in a matter of days. France will win this game going away, but it will not take away from the tournament that Norway had.

My Pick: 4-1 France

Women’s World Cup Final

United States vs. Japan – July 5

This is the second chance that the United States has been craving. A chance to right the wrongs of 2011, and while the pain of that loss will never subside entirely for those on that team, the 2015 squad can do a lot to mitigate the pain. Expect Abby Wambach to make an emotional entrance at some point during this match. I won’t predict the fairytale ending involving Wambach, but I will say that the United States women’s national team will make good on its promise that this is their time.

My Pick: 3-2 United States

– K. Becks

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