Australia and England both won their round of 16 clashes on Monday to advance to the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals. England is into the last eight for the fifth-straight tournament, having reached the semifinals in each of the last two. Australia is back in the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup after losing in the round of 16 in 2019. Before then, the Aussies made it to three-straight quarterfinals, losing there each time.
The hosts played out a tight game against Denmark. Despite an eventual two-goal win, the contest was fairly balanced. Strictly based on stats, Denmark held an advantage in shots, possession and passes. Of course, stats do not tell the clearest story. Denmark did open up the game with several strong opportunities. For example, in the 17th minute, Danish striker Amalie Vangsgaard fired a shot straight at Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold.
About 10 minutes later, the hosts opened the scoring in front of a boisterous Stadium Australia. Caitlin Foord picked up a brilliant pass from Mary Fowler inside the Denmark half. She drove down and unleashed a powerful attempt that crept through the legs of Lene Christensen.
There were not too many stellar attempts for the rest of the first half, leaving the Matildas with a one-goal lead entering the break. In the second half, though, Australia took advantage of a chance to make it a two-goal cushion. Hayle Raso delivered the scoring touch. Emily van Egmond picked up the loose ball in the Denmark area before slotting over to Raso. The Real Madrid winger then pounded the ball across the face of the net.
Sam Kerr makes a return to play
Denmark could never muster an overly strong chance against Australia. While the Danish did have some opportunities, they never truly tested Arnold. Australia was living the party, and Sam Kerr’s substitute appearance added to the celebration. The Australian captain made her first appearance at this Women’s World Cup in front of cheering fans.
There was a scary moment for Kerr, who fell awkwardly in the Denmark area. Kerr, returning from a calf injury, initially grimaced in pain. However, she carried on. Kerr helped Australia see out its 2-0 victory and move on to the last eight.
England overcomes Nigeria to join Australia in the quarterfinals
The Lionesses of England needed penalties to see off Nigeria in the round of 16. England, historically poor on penalties from the men, were clear favorites against Nigeria. However, an inspiring performance from the African nation almost yielded another upset at this Women’s World Cup. The talking point, though, is Lauren James, who picked up a red card.
The England star and brother of Chelsea fullback Reece James stomped on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie. The incident in the 87th minute needed a VAR review. However, with cameras showing the act of frustration clear as day, there are no complaints over the issuance of a red card.
Nigeria nearly took advantage of its extra player in extra time. However, England goalkeeper Mary Earps did enough to see it to penalties. She stopped good opportunities for Asisat Oshoala among others in the extra 30 minutes.
The parity of penalties was kind to England, though. Nigeria missed the net on its first two spot kicks, giving England a 1-0 advantage after two rounds. Despite the heroics of Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, England won the shootout, 4-2.
Australia and England await their opponents in the quarterfinals. Australia will play the winner of the France-Morocco tie. England, on the other hand, faces either Colombia or Jamaica.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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