Quarterfinals have wrapped up and the semifinals are set. England, United States, Netherlands, and Sweden all move on for a chance to play in the final, and we say goodbye to Germany, Norway, Italy, and France. Here are a few of the best moments the quarterfinals brought up.
Norway 0-3 England
The match that kicked off the quarterfinal round was dominated by England. The Lionesses scored the fastest goal of the tournament to date when they scored just 3 minutes into the match. Perhaps it was the extra minutes on their legs, or the moment too big, but Norway just never found their way into the game. It was a near flawless match from England, and perhaps sent a message that they are here to dominate, not just win. Their 3 goals were impressive, but it’s this strike from Ellen White that left us full of praise as White scored her fifth of the tournament and launched her into the Golden Boot race.
Another one for England!— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 27, 2019
Ellen White gets her 5th goal of the tournament to make it 2-0 against Norway. pic.twitter.com/VmVjc84IjG
Italy 0-2 Netherlands
The quarter finals were eclipsed by European nations, but two of the tournament’s choice teams faced off against each other. Italy’s World Cup story may have unexpectedly and pleasantly nabbed the hearts of viewers, as they made their return back to the tournament and impressed in their group stage. Netherlands set their path long ago as they entered the World Cup as Euro champions and entertaining soccer fans with their top line providing a dynamic attack. As the two teams met in the quarterfinals, it felt cruel that one of them would be going home at the play of the other, but such is the World Cup.
A terribly hot and muggy day set the backdrop for the match, and it was evident that it had an impact on both teams. Both teams would trudge through for 70 minutes, but the Netherlands would go on to win, 0-2. It was the 70th minute goal from Miedema off a set piece that opened up scoring for Netherlands, and it just another that’s now added to her impressive goal scoring resume.
Germany 1-2 Sweden
Two storied European teams met in this quarterfinal to determine who would face Netherlands in the semifinals. Germany had the advantage over Sweden historically when it came to results, with Sweden having never won a major tournament match against them since 1995.
Germany entered the quarterfinal as favorites on the day, and even took an early lead in the 16th minute. Sweden would answer a mere five minutes later and equalize and the teams would go into halftime tied, 1-1. It was an early second half goal that was the difference maker for Sweden as they continued to press, frustrate, and expose Germany’s centerbacks - and would eventually go on to win the match, 2-1 in a historic win for Sweden’s program.
France 1-2 United States
In what was billed as the biggest match for the tournament for months, host nation France took on the United States in a quarterfinal. Different narratives surrounding the match for France was their inability to perform under pressure, and whether or not the United States would be able to play up to the French as they would be their biggest competition to date in the tournament.
Alternatively, questions surrounding the game were even on both sides. Would the match come down to possession? To depth? To the head coaches decisions in personnel? Were all just some of the things being asked before kickoff. On top of everything else, there was a lot of chatter - soccer related or not - surrounding one player, Megan Rapinoe.
It was Rapinoe who made sure the United States punched their ticket to the semifinal. Her two goals on the day were executed with a combination of class and experience on the World’s biggest stage. However, it was her opening set piece goal that has given us one of the best goals and images in Women’s World Cup history since Brandi Chastain’s penalty kick winning goal and celebration in 1999. It was a goal that has encompassed everything Rapinoe has been in recent years: Calm, Cool, Collected, and irrevocably for the people.
Semifinals take place this week with England vs United States on Tuesday, and Netherlands vs Sweden on Wednesday. Winners of each match will compete for the World Cup in the final to take place on Sunday, July 7.