The final games in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals conclude today with two exciting matchups. Starting at 1:00 p.m. PT, Australia takes on Japan and might be the toughest team the Japanese side has faced so far in this tournament. That match airs on Fox Sports 1.
At 4:30 p.m., also on Fox Sports 1, England and Canada face off in what will be their third matchup this year. Canada is ranked eighth in the world, two places below England, and hope to reach their second World Cup semifinal. England, on the other hand, have never progressed past the round of eight.
Australia v. Japan
When they beat Brazil, Australia became the first senior team for their country, men or women, to make it through the first knockout stage. Now they look to beat an incredibly skilled Japanese team, a team they lost to in the last Asian Cup final.
Japan, reigning World Cup champions, move the ball around with both patience and aggression, allowing the play to build and then unleashing their attack in an instant. Their 4-4-2 formation morphed into a 3-4-3 when attacking against Switzerland, causing all sorts of trouble for this Swiss side.
But this also leaves Japan open to the counter attack. Their discipline getting back has ensured the Japanese defense has not gotten into much trouble. However, Australia presents perhaps a more well-balanced attack than any of Japan's previous opponents, and Australia’s speed on the counter could present Japan with some problems. With right back Saori Ariyoshi often pushing high up the pitch, wingers Sam Kerr and Lisa De Vanna will look to get behind in transition.
England v. Canada
Canada has scored just three goals in four matches, and has struggled with "the case of the missing midfield." But Canada has given up just one goal, thanks primarily to goalkeeper Erin McLeod and the steady defense of 19-year-old centerback Kadeisha Buchanan and left back Allysha Chapman. Buchanan will need a disciplined match if she wants to contain England's prime creator, Karen Carney, who has two goals so far this tournament.
In the middle of the field, keep an eye on the two Scotts: Desiree and Jill. Desiree is the midfield enforcer for Canada who happens to play in England. Jill is a tall, technically skilled midfielder that plays at Manchester City. Desiree will look to stifle England's rhythm, and Jill will work hard to prevent her from doing so. It will be an important battle.
The pressure on hosts Canada is enormous. This matchup is growing into a fun rivarly. This should be an active, lively match.
How to Watch
Game #1: Australia v. Japan
Game #2: England v. Canada
This is your Women's World Cup gamethread. Watch today's action with us.