Spots in the Round of 16 are still there to be won with teams from Groups D and E set to play their final group games to see who makes it through. Three nations in Group E can qualify for the knockouts; with leaders, the USA and third-place Portugal playing against each other, as well as the Netherlands who look to avoid defeat against Vietnam.
Whereas in Group D, all nations are still in the race for those top two spots; with debutants Haiti going up against Denmark and the European champions England looking for their third win in the group stage against China who also have a chance to make it, if they manage to cause an upset.
Let’s have a look at who finishes in the top two in these two groups.
Vietnam vs Netherlands:
With a win and a draw under their belt in the group stage, the Netherlands will need to steer clear of a defeat against Vietnam at Dunedin Stadium to advance into the Round of 16. The Dutch dominated from the start with an early goal in the 8th minute from Lieke Martens, who received a long pass from Dominique Janssen. Martens was able to control the ball despite the defensive pressure from Vietnam, chipping it over Vietnam’s goalkeeper Thi Kim Thanh Tran and into the back of the net. Three minutes later, the Oranje were two goals up through Katja Snoeijs where Danielle Van de Donk was able to find her in space and she struck it into the bottom right corner.
In the 18th minute, Esmee Brugts had time and space outside the box to have a shot and curled the ball into the back of the net, putting the Netherlands three goals up. Five minutes later, Dominique Janssen won the ball high up the pitch and assisted Jill Roord who scored a volley to increase the Netherlands’ lead to four.
Just before the half-time break, Van de Donk scored the Dutch’s fifth goal after Roord’s initial shot was saved after a cross from Brugts. But the Netherlands number ten was there on the follow-up to put it past Thi Kim Thanh Tran.
Esmee Brugts scored her second of the game in the 57th minute almost replicating her first, where she won the ball high up the pitch and was able to curl it into the back of the net.
Jill Roord got onto the scoresheet once again through a set piece where Stefanie Van der Gragt was able to head it down to the path of Roord who was able to head the ball in the goal for the Netherlands’ seventh goal of the game. With a massive win in the books, the Netherlands look to top Group E and will have to wait and see who they will face in the Round of 16.
Portugal vs USA:
The USA will look to remain undefeated in Group E as they face off against Portugal who look to cause havoc against the world number one at Eden Park. America looked to control the possession early on in the game with chances early from Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams but they were unable to hit the back of the net.
As the first half progressed, Portugal looked more confident going forward with Andreia Norton having a shot at goal in the ninth minute. Jessica Silva almost put the Portuguese in the lead in the 16th minute after receiving a nice through ball from Kika Nazareth but Silva dragged her shot wide.
Nazareth had a chance at goal in the 39th minute but had too much power on her shot and flew over the bar. Lynn Williams had one final chance to get the USA in the lead but her shot was straight at Ines Pereira keeping the scores level into the break.
The U.S. looked to improve in the second half and they put the pressure early on the Portuguese defence with chances from Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan to put them in the lead, but still couldn’t find the decisive goal.
However, Portugal continued to cause problems for the reigning champions as they were able to keep majority of the possession and had a big chance late in the game when substitute Ana Capeta struck the post after a well-timed run past the American backline.
After a late run from Portugal in extra time, the USA were able to hold on till the final whistle where they will finish second in Group E and await to see who finishes first in Group G.
Haiti vs Denmark:
After losing in their previous match against England, Denmark are heading into a must-win game against Haiti at the Perth Rectangular Stadium if they want to advance into the Round of 16. Denmark got off to a quick start with a goal from Simone Boye who was there on the follow-up after the initial shot by Amalie Vangsgaard was saved by Kerly Theus. However, the goal was ruled offside as Vangsgaard was in an offside position prior to Boye’s goal.
In the 21st minute, Denmark were awarded a penalty due to a handball committed by Dayana Pierre-Louis. Denmark captain Pernille Harder was the designated penalty taker which she scored putting the Danes in the lead.
Haiti tried to find a quick response with shots from Roseline Eloissaint and Nerilia Mondesir, but both couldn’t get past Lene Christensen. In the 75th minute, Haiti almost found the equaliser through Batcheba Louis but once again Christensen was there to make the save at a crucial point of the game.
In the 82nd minute, Pernille Harder thought she had scored her second of the game to confirm their place in the Round of 16. But after a VAR review, the goal did not count due to a foul on Theus by substitute Signe Bruun during the build-up of the goal.
Despite the disallowed goal just moments ago, Denmark were able to seal their place in the Round of 16 with a late goal from substitute Sanne Troelsgaard. With the win confirmed, Denmark finish second in Group D where they will face co-hosts Australia at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
China PR vs England:
England looks to ensure a first-place finish in Group D, but in their way is China who can qualify for the Round of 16 with a win against the European champions. England dominated possession from the first whistle and in the fourth minute, the Lionesses had the opener. After a Lauren Hemp cross, China wasn’t able to properly clear the ball only falling as far as Lauren James on the edge of the box. James was able to head it down to Alessia Russo, who scored it into the bottom left corner.
In the 13th minute, the English were very close to a second goal after some nice build-up play from the back which ended up in the feet of Lauren Hemp who just put it wide of the goal due to some pressure from China’s Yao Wei.
However, Hemp was able to get her goal later on in the 26th minute which started from a Millie Bright interception. The England captain passed it off to Lauren James who found Hemp making the run towards goal and the Manchester City player slotted it past Zhu Yu to put England two goals up.
Lucy Bronze had two consecutive chances to score a third but her header at first hit the post and then her second shot just fell wide. Not too long after, Georgia Stanway’s header could’ve been the third as well in the 36th minute but was pushed by Zhu to settle for a corner.
Nevertheless, England were able to score their third goal through a set piece in the 41st minute. Alex Greenwood laid it off to Lauren James on the edge of the box and placed the ball into the back of the net.
Lauren James scored a second goal just before the half-time break, but it didn’t count as Lucy Bronze was in an offside position during the build-up to her goal.
China came out of the break aiming to cut the three-goal deficit where they had a chance from Wu Chengsu forcing Mary Earps into a diving save. But China were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute after a lengthy VAR check which saw Lucy Bronze move her arm to block the ball. Wang Shuang stepped up to take the penalty and struck it down the middle, cutting England’s lead to two.
It wasn’t long till England regained their three-goal lead with Lauren James scoring her second of the game, starting with Jess Carter’s deep cross which found her Chelsea teammate in the box who volleyed it past Zhu.
Substitute Chloe Kelly was able to score the Lionesses’ fifth goal of the game in the 77th minute, where Lauren James was involved in the play once again playing a long ball only for Zhu Yu to make a mistake allowing Kelly to score into an open goal.
To top a dominating performance, Rachel Daly scored their sixth goal in the 87th minute where she was at the back post waiting for her opportunity to arise and when it did she smashed it into the back of the net. England are now top of Group D and will face Nigeria in the Round of 16 at Brisbane Stadium on Monday.