PARIS – FIFA Women’s World Cup is heading to a decisive week in which England will look to take down the United States, the defending champion, in the last-4 while the other semifinal clash pits the Netherlands against Sweden with an eye on July 7’s final.
The four semifinals teams have won every game in their run to the penultimate round, except for Sweden, which recovered from a 2-0 defeat to the US in the group stage.
England vs. the United States (Tuesday, July 2)
Having eliminated France, the host, in the previous round, the United States is two steps away from successfully defending its title, but it has to overcome a challenge posed by England, which has proven itself a solid contender across the tournament.
The English team has shown throughout the tourney that it has what it takes to claim a victory over the team led by coach Jill Ellis.
American star Alex Morgan has stressed England’s defensive strength as well as its attacking edge.
The US team, meanwhile, relies on its history – having hoisted the title three times – and its competitiveness, which earned it the lead over the opening 10-minute stretch against Sweden, France and Spain.
It took them a little longer to grab the lead against Chile in the 11th minute and it needed 12 minutes to break the scoreless deadlock against Thailand.
Therefore, England’s coach Phil Neville stressed the importance of remaining focused especially over the opening minutes of the upcoming game.
The Netherlands against Sweden (Wednesday, July 3)
The good performance Stina Blackstenius, Sofia Jakobsson and their teammates has made Sweden a sensation as its stars have lived up to the occasion and reacted well under pressure.
They rallied from a 1-0 deficit to earn a morale boosting 2-1 win over Germany in the quarterfinal ahead of taking on the Netherlands, the European reigning champion.
Making its first-ever World Cup semifinal appearance, the Dutch team has confidence in the abilities of Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema and Shanice van de Sanden to lead it to the final.
Theoretically it is expected to be an even match between two out of three teams who are set to represent Europe at the 2020 Olympic Games, alongside the United Kingdom.