Fans of the Women's World Cup are in for a treat today, as there are three matches to enjoy. What better way to get your mind off the Sounders loss?
At 10:00 a.m. PT, Brazil takes on Australia, a team that made it out of Group D in second place. At 1:00 p.m. PT, France faces off against Korea Republic, while hosts Canada will be up against Switzerland at 4:30 p.m. PT in Vancouver. I know a number of readers will be up in Vancouver for that match (myself included).
Also at 1:00 p.m., the Seattle Reign take on the Boston Breakers on the road. A win could catapult the Reign to second in the NWSL, with a game on hand.
What to Watch
Brazil v. Australia
Lisa De Vanna has been an absolute terror this tournament. The 30-year-old veteran striker scored against the U.S. and Sweden, and has been the rock of the Matildas attack.
While Marta became the top goal scorer in Women's World Cup history, midfielder Formiga had an equally important milestone: she became the oldest goal scorer at 37. Sure, Marta is still Brazil's most dangerous player, but Formiga proved she still has what it takes to slide in behind the defense. Australia’s Elise Kellond-Knight will be tasked with ensuring something similar doesn’t occur today.
Both teams have a quick, attack-minded squad, but Australia's speedy midfield has the opportunity to catch Brazil on the counter.
France v. South Korea
While France fell 2-0 to Colombia, they bounced back with a convincing 5-0 win against Mexico to close out the group stage. With opposing teams paying a lot of attention to midfielder Louisa Necib, fellow midfielders Amandine Henry and Elodie Thomis have been able to contribute in meaningful ways. Henry's long-range blast is perhaps the goal of the tournament so far, and Thomis has earned two assists.
South Korea's 2-1 upset win over Spain catapulted them into the knockouts, but they are going to have a greater challenge in France. Korea Republic's Ga-eul Jeon has been one of their standout players, notching a goal and an assist and playing in all 270 minutes.
Canada v. Switzerland
While Canada won their group, the did not do so in convincing fashion. A late penalty gave them a 1-0 win over China, and they drew with both New Zealand and the Netherlands. It has been a lack of midfield creativity that has hampered the Canadian team. If they want to advance, Canada will need to build the attack through their midfield and get Christine Sinclair the ball in more dangerous areas. And Sinclair needs to be a more clinical finisher.
Switzerland, on the other hand, barely snuck through Group C. They were the last team to advance to the Round of 16, earning just 3 points in the group stage. While they handily beat Ecuador 10-1 and played well against Japan, they gave up two goals to Switzerland and looked out-hustled at the end. Which Switzerland side will show up?
Ramona Bachmann will be the key to Switzerland's attack. The speedy 24-year-old has the quick feet to give Canada lots of trouble. One defensive lapse is all Bachmann might need. Canada will need a strong game from Kadeisha Buchanan, their 19-year-old defender who has anchored the back line so far.
How to Watch
Match #1: Brazil (#7 FIFA ranking) v. Australia (#10)
Time: Sunday, June 21, 10:00 a.m. PT
TV: Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (Spanish)
Online: FOX Sports Go (TV subscription required), FOX Soccer 2 Go (no TV subscription; paid service), and NBC Deportes En Vivo
Match #2: France (#3) v. Korea Republic (#18)
Match #3: Canada (#8) v. Switzerland (#19)
This is your Women's World Cup gamethread. Watch today's back-to-back-to-back action with us.