France-Colombia, Brazil-Spain, England-Mexico, Korea-Costa Rica

womens-world-cup-sm

Now that the Group Stage games of the 2015 Women’s World Cup are well under way, we can start to see some of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. We get our second looks at Groups F and E to wrap up the second games of the group rounds before heading into the final games before the Knock-out Stage begins.

Here are today’s matches:

France v. Colombia
1:00 PM – FOX
Group F
Moncton Stadium – Moncton

While France secured the Group F’s only win in the opening games, they did not live up to the “dark horse” hype around the team. Despite spending most of the game in their offensive half, maintaining 60% of the possession and firing off 16 shots, the team only managed one goal.

France simply needs to find a way to score in this next game against Colombia. If they can do that, they will be the second team to secure a place in the knockout stage.

Standing in their way is a scrappy and relentless Colombian team. A late strike by Daniela Montoya secured a 1-1 draw in the opening game. In today’s game, expect Colombia to continue the same kind of play. As France likes to possess the ball, Colombia’s best hope is sure up the defense and limit Les Bleues’ quality chances.

Brazil v. Spain
4:00 PM – FOX Sports 1
Group E
Olympic Stadium – Montreal

These two teams are very similar in their playing style: spend little time defending, control the midfield, and show flair and style in the attack. The difference is the inexperience of Spain, which is what might have cost them a win in the team’s opening game.

Spain gave up critical chances on the counter attack, but in many cases Costa Rica did not have the numbers going forward. Brazil will not have that problem, meaning Spain will need to shore up their defense against Brazil. With first game jitters out of the way, Spain should be more critical in front of the net. Sonia Bermudez had several opportunities in the first game but was not able to convert. Expect her to find the back of the net in this one.

Brazil simply needs to follow the same game plan that they exhibited against South Korea and once again take advantage of an inexperienced team. Brazil’s best chances will come off the counter attack where the speed of Formiga and Marta will cause havoc for the Spanish back line.

England v. Mexico
4:00 PM – FOX
Group F
Moncton Stadium – Moncton

These two teams met in the 2011 World Cup, where Mexico earned a surprising 1-1 draw with England. Now, these teams meet again in a must-win situation for both squads.

England had a difficult time forming a credible attack against France, especially in the midfield where they couldn’t provide uality service to Eniola Aluko and registered only three shots. It may be the reason that head coach Mark Sampson has hinted at changes in the lineup. Sampson will want a squad on the field that will not park the bus and show more urgency and aggression against their opponent.

Despite spending most of their game on defense, England did show they can hold off a team for 90 minutes and not fall too far behind.

Mexico is facing a similar situation; Leonardo Cuellar wants the same out of his team. While Mexico showed strong possession against Columbia in their opening game, they were lacking in the final third.

El Tri displayed a threat on set pieces in their opening game and need to put a stop to that trend if they want to secure their first win in the World Cup.

Korea Republic v. Costa Rica
7:00 PM – FOX Sports 2
Group E
Olympic Stadium – Montreal

The underdogs of Group E could both use points coming out of this matchup. For Costa Rica, a win could push them into second place, but they will need to create more chances on goal.

Shirley Cruz and Katherine Alvarado can do that by leading their team in the midfield. Both were critical in moving the ball from side to side, which will break down the Korean defense. Costa Rica’s pace on the flank will be critical in getting the team on the board.

Korea Republic was lackluster on the offense against Brazil, most likely because Ji So-Yun was quiet for most of the game. Korea should look to get So-Yun involved through the middle of the pitch if they want to come up victorious.

Before, during or after today’s matches, join the conversation in the comments section below with fellow soccer fans from around the world.

 

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