2015 Women’s World Cup Canada: Knockout Stage Predictions

June 6, 2015

The day is finally upon us: at approximately 6 PM Eastern time, Canada will take on the People’s Republic of China to kick off the 2015 Women’s World Cup. All of the groups have been previewed on ATC over the past few days, which can be accessed via the links below in case you missed one of them.

Group A Group B

Group C Group D

Group E Group F

To round off this preview series, I’ll give you my entire knockout stage predictions based on which teams I believe will make it out of group play. Similarly to last year’s World Cup coverage, I will revisit my predictions once the knockout stage has actually been determined.

Let’s preview the Knockout Stage.

Round of 16

Netherlands (2A) vs. Switzerland (2C)

The reasoning behind my pick in this game stems from the strength of the respective groups. In order to make it to the knockout round, the Dutch will have had to weather a group featuring host Canada and a tough China squad. Switzerland would come through what is widely considered the weakest group in the tournament.

My Pick: 3-2 Netherlands

United States (1D) vs. South Korea (3E)

I think that the South Koreans will make it through based on points earned from draws, which consequently is the result the team earned against the United States in the final tuneup match last weekend. Unfortunately for the Koreans, a draw will only get you to the knockout stage, not allow you to advance. The United States will score in round two.

My Pick: 3-1 United States

Germany (1B) vs. China (3A)

The Germans won’t get the most favorable draw in their first knockout stage match, as China will be scrappy enough to give the No. 1 team in the world some fits. However, with Nadine Angerer in goal, Germany will stifle any good chances that China gets on goal and win this one with a clean sheet.

My Pick: 2-0 Germany

England (1F) vs. Spain (2E)

At first glance this looks like a heavyweight matchup, but that would only be true in the men’s game. Spain has enough talent to make it through the knockout stage, but doesn’t have any prior World Cup experience on the women’s side. Contrarily, England is top ten in the world and knows how to win games of this magnitude. Experience wins here.

My Pick: 2-1 England

Brazil (1E) vs. Sweden (2D)

The Brazilians were disappointed with a quarterfinals exit in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, but that won’t seem so bad after this game has concluded. Sweden plays selflessly enough to oust Brazil, which really will only go as far as Marta takes them. That being said, this should be one of the best Round of 16 games to watch.

My Pick: 4-3 Sweden

Japan (1C) vs. Mexico (3F)

The Mexican Soccer Federation’s efforts will have already paid off if the squad is playing in this game. But the honeymoon will be over when this match begins, as Japan will take no prisoners in an effort to repeat as champions. It will be clear which is the more talented side and that side will be victorious.

My Pick: 4-1 Japan

Norway (2B) vs. France (2F)

In the women’s soccer circles, this will be considered a great matchup. Both teams have had World Cup success in the past and France comes into the tournament as one of the true contenders. Although neither team will have won its group if playing in this game, both are good enough to have done so.

My Pick: 3-2 France

Canada (1A) vs. Cameroon (3C)

If this matchup comes to fruition, then the host country will have drawn one of the easiest opponents left in the Round of 16. Cameroon may be the most skilled African side, but they will not be able to keep pace with a motivated and talented Canada squad. The home fans will live to see their team play another round.

My Pick: 3-1 Canada


Netherlands vs. United States

Up to this point the Netherlands will have been able to take what is given to them and run with it. In this game, the Dutch will actually need to make things happen and play more aggressively and tactfully than one of the tournament favorites. That isn’t going to happen and the United States will cruise into the semis.

My Pick: 3-1 United States

Germany vs. England

The first of a few great quarterfinal matchups, Germany gets no break after China in its quest to become both the current men’s and women’s World Cup champions. England has the ability to test Germany’s defense, so the back line must play well in order to avoid an early exit. A back and forth game will result in the Germans doing just enough to slide by the English.

My Pick: 2-1 Germany

Sweden vs. Japan

This game has the potential to be the best of the quarterfinal matches. Both teams play a similar game, with few individual stars but a superb understanding as a whole of where players are on the pitch. Chances will be taken strategically and not wasted, which will make this game a chess match of sorts. Sweden has the talent to take out the defending champs, but Japan simply survives a hard fought battle.

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

France vs. Canada

Both teams will be aware of the strength of the other, so don’t expect one squad to make careless mistakes stemming from a lack of respect for the other side. This may be the most attended game of the tournament, not only because a victory by Canada would mean a date with Japan but also because the French should travel well for this. I believe that this game will come down to midfield play, where France has a slight edge over the Canadians.

My Pick: 3-3 (5-4 PKs) France


United States vs. Germany

This is the first game of the tournament where the United States will be evenly matched talent wise. The Germans are able to take full advantage of the fact that the United States may have scoring issues if Alex Morgan isn’t back to full form in this tournament. Goals will come at a premium in this game, which isn’t preferred by FOX but is a testament to the strength of each team. Good teams are difficult to score against.

My Pick: 2-1 United States

Japan vs. France

This is where Japan’s dreams of repeating come to an end. France will continue to build confidence as the tournament wears on, which is a dangerous thing for their opponents. I expect the French to come out aggressively and surprise a Japanese squad that was expecting this to be a calculated match. France wins this game if it can get out to an early, two goal lead. Japan wins if it is still tied in the late stages of the match.

My Pick: 3-2 France

Third Place Game

Germany vs. Japan

There is bound to be some disappointment swirling in the air for this game, but the culture of Japan is not to give anything less than your best effort. I see less of a hangover effect for the Japanese than for Germany, which as the No. 1 team in the world will feel like it did not live up to expectations.

My Pick: 3-1 Japan

Women’s World Cup Final

United States vs. France

In the last year, France and the United States have met each other four times. Three of those games were friendlies and the most recent was an Algarve Cup placement match. The U.S. is 2-1-1 in those games, with a 2-0 victory in the only non-friendly match. Although these games do not come near the importance of a World Cup Final, it is clear that the United States has the ability to shut down the French attack.

If France is able to score more than 2 goals, things could get tricky for the United States. But a strong defensive performance should give the U.S. a slight edge. In the history of the Women’s World Cup, the winner has never scored more than two goals in regulation plus stoppage time. Assuming that remains true after this year’s Cup, the United States will be hoisting the trophy.

My Pick: 2-2 (goal in extra time) United States

Individual Award Predictions

Golden Ball (best player) – Sydney Leroux, United States striker

Golden Boot (top goalscorer) – Marta, Brazil forward

Golden Glove (best goalkeeper) – Nadine Angerer, Germany goalkeeper

FIFA Fair Play Award – Japan

Best Young Player – Jessie Fleming, Canada midfielder

– K. Becks

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