Heavyweights Get Set For Battle

By: Grant Fisken

Germany v France

Germany have made comfortable progress through the tournament so far, scoring 19 goals along the way. They can call on the firepower of the joint-leaders in the race for the Golden Boot, Anja Mittag and Celia Sasic (both 5), but with nine different goalscorers at this World Cup they are not short of options in front of goal. France’s only hiccup so far came in the 2-0 group stage defeat against Colombia, and they cannot afford their performance to drop to those levels if they want to match their run to the semifinal in 2011.

Tip – France are as much as 13/2 to win the World Cup, and consider the team that has knocked Germany out has always gone on to lift the trophy.

China v United States

This is a repeat of the 1999 final, when United States won on penalties after a 0-0 draw. China have not made it past the quarterfinal since that tournament, and few would back them to change that against the only country to reach at least the semifinal in all six previous World Cups. The US are on a 22-match unbeaten run against China stretching all the way back to 2003, and should be able to cope without the suspended Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday.

Tip – Abby Wambach has scored in all three of her World Cup quarterfinal appearances, and is one short of equalling the tournament record for most goals (Marta 15) and most knockout stage goals (Michelle Akers 8).

Australia v Japan

Holders Japan are the only team left with a 100% winning record in this tournament, and their performances so far have been solid if not spectacular. That will have to improve against an Australia team buoyed by their shock last 16 win against Brazil. The Matildas will also be out for revenge after they lost 1-0 versus Japan in the 2014 Asian Cup final, but they have gone out at this stage in their last two World Cup appearances.

Tip – Japan to win and both teams to score. The holders will be expected to go through, but Australia have failed to find the net in only two of their 21 World Cup matches.

England v Canada

Every World Cup host has made it to at least the quarterfinal, but only United States (1999 and 2003) have gone on to the semifinal. Of the eight quarterfinalists, Canada (3) have scored the fewest goals at this tournament, with all-time leading goalscorer Christine Sinclair failing to find the net since the opening match. England have gone out at this stage in each of their previous three World Cups, but come into the match having won their last three fixtures by a 2-1 scoreline.

Tip – The head-to-head record between England and Canada reads five wins each. Of those 10 matches, only once did both teams score.

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