Today is the last of the Group stages for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, so we will see who will advance and get an idea of what third place teams will make it through to the Round of 16.
There’s plenty of movement within Group F and today’s games will make or break these teams. Tournament favorites France have been underwhelming in most of their group play while Colombia has stunned most with a surprising victory against France.
Mexico v. France
4:00 PM – FOX
Lansdowne Stadium – Ottawa
France has some work ahead of them. If Les Bleues win and Colombia wins, the best France can hope for is a second place finish, but if England pulls off the win, France and the Lionesses will be tied for first. France will need to make up a one-goal difference and a draw against Mexico will only help France if England losses.
Mexico is not out of this tournament despite sitting in last place of Group F with one point but the only hope Mexico has is to win against France; a draw will not be enough. A win and a Colombia victory will move them into a tie for second but down on goal difference. A win and an English win will only allow Mexico to move up one position to third.
If Mexico wants to win against the third ranked team in the world, they will need to take a page out of Colombia’s book: patient defending and taking advantage of their opportunities. France has been unable to create qualities opportunities in the final third. Stifling their attack will only frustrate France more.
France simply needs to produce goals. They are creating chances, but nothing dangerous. They will need to show persistence and patience in the final third and be mindful of the counterattack.
England v. Colombia
4:00 PM – FOX Sports 1
Olympic Stadium – Montreal
Colombia has surprised many when they achieved a 2-0 victory over top ranked France to steal the top spot in Group F. In front of them is the opportunity to do something they could not do in their first World Cup in 2011, get out of the group stages.
Colombia currently sits in first place of Group F with four points; a win over England will secure that position. A draw and a France win will knock the team back down to second, while a draw in both Group F games will allow Colombia to keep their top spot. If Colombia loses this game, they will need to hope that Mexico can surprise France in order to not fall all the way to third and rely on goal difference to beat El Tri.
The Three Lionesses hold second place with three points, tied with France. The difference being England’s two goals compared to France’s one. Goal difference will play a role no matter the outcome of Group F’s games. A win for England and a win for France will tie them in first and the Lionesses will have to hope that Les Blueus do not win by more then two. A draw against Colombia and a draw for Mexico/France will once again leave things up to goal differential. England can avoid any worry by simply winning today.
The English attack has struggled to find a rhythm in their first two games. Their best opportunities came when Eniola Aluko used her pace to get on the flanks. When England forces play in the middle of the pitch, they tend to crowd out the middle of the park and stifle their own attack. England will need to remain patient against Colombia and probe the attack while trying to retain possession.
Colombia has benefitted from a good mixture of luck, skill and organized defense to land them in first place. Against England, they will once again need to rely on patient defending to hold off and frustrate their opponents. Then use the counter to attack the English back line and cause confusion.
Costa Rica v. Brazil
7:00 PM– FOX Sports 1
Moncton Stadium – Moncton
Brazil was the only team to punch a ticket to their knockout stage after only two games. Brazil could lose this match and still retain first place. For that reason, Head Coach Vadao will likely sit some of his regular starters. Letting Rosana, Formiga and Marta get some rest will help his team in the knockout stages.
Costa Rica holds second place with two points while Spain and Korea Republic each have one point. If either of those teams win and Costa Rica loses or draws, they will fall to third.
Las Ticas need to remember they cannot spend 90 minutes chasing Brazil. They will only tire themselves out. Instead, they need to go on the attack early and take Brazil out of their game. They also need to disrupt Brazil’s rhythm. If they are down late in the game, they will need to display their signature reliance.
A tall task, but necessary in order to win.
Korea Republic v. Spain
7:00 PM– FOX Sports
Lansdowne Stadium – Ottawa
Both theses teams face similar positions each with one point. A win for either team and a Costa Rica loss ensures a second place finish. A draw and a Costa Rica win keeps the table where it’s at, but a draw and a Costa Rica loss will create a three-way tie.
Spain had much higher expectations for themselves other then tied for third place with one game left in group play. For their game against Korea, they need to simplify their game. Too often they are trying to do much in the offensive zone. Simple play and possession should win them this game.
Korea needs to feed the ball to Ji So-yun and Park Eun Sun and let theses two players work their magic up front.
Tell us below, what have you thought of the group stages of the 2015 Women’s World Cup? Any surprises? Any let-downs? Let us know!
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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