World Cup: Knockout Stage


The group stages qualified 16 teams for the knockout stage, and eliminated 8 teams. The knockout stage, as the name implies, consists of a series of (15) games in which the winner advances in the tournament, and the loser is eliminated. The first round of eight games will determine which 8 teams advance to the Quarterfinals, which determine the 4 teams in the Semifinals, and those games (of course) determine the 2 teams to meet in the World Cup Final.

In the event that a match is tied at the end of regulation and stoppage time, there will be two 15-minute periods of extra time will be played, in their entirety. There is no longer a “golden goal” (a.k.a., “sudden death”) rule, which has not been used in World Cup since 2003. If the match is still (or again) tied at the end of extra time, the winner shall be determined via penalty shoot-out.


The initial match pairings are as follows, with the victor at each stage paired with the winner of the match immediately above or below (i.e., a standard single elimination bracket) for the next round. The (2) losing teams in the Semifinals will play in the Third place play-off match.

  • Norway
  • Australia
  • England
  • Cameroon
  • France
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • United States
  • Italy
  • China
  • Netherlands
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Nigeria
  • Sweden
  • Canada

World Cup: Group F Results


After Group E, Cameroon (#46) became the latest team to advance to the knockout stage, and also the lowest ranking team to do so. Argentina and New Zealand were eliminated. That means that there is 1 spot remaining, and it goes to either Chile, Thailand, or (most likely) Nigeria, depending on the results of the Chile/Thailand match. (In total, 15 teams advanced, 6 were eliminated, and 3 still have a chance.)

There are still 5 matches yet to be settled: Spain plays either the United States or Sweden, depending on the results of their game, with the other team playing Canada, and the other three matches change depending on which team get the last spot. Specifically, if Nigeria advances, they play Germany, Brazil plays France, and Cameroon plays England. Otherwise, either Chile or Thailand advance and that team plays England, Brazil plays Germany, and Cameroon plays France.

Group F

The United States and Sweden had already advanced, and they were playing for first place in the group. The United States would earn the top position with a win or draw, while Sweden needed a win to take that place. Chile and Thailand both needed a victory for any possibility of making the knockout stage. A draw would eliminate both teams immediately, as would failing to win by enough goals; Chile, who have never scored a World Cup goal, must win by 3 goals to advance, while Thailand must win by 15 goals.

  • United States 2
  • Sweden 0

Stade Océane, Le Havre: The United States got off to a very early start when Lindsey Horan scored a goal in the 3rd minute, the earliest goal scored in this World Cup so far. They continued to have the upper hand over Sweden, who nevertheless had one good scoring opportunity, but failed to score again in the first half. The second half started similarly, albeit not quite as quickly, when Tobin Heath scored in the 50th minute on a nice chip shot from a shallow angle, a goal that was later reassigned as an own goal by Jonna Andersson of Sweden. There were opportunities for both teams throughout the rest of match (including an inexplicable 7 minutes of stoppage time), but the score remained the same, leaving the United States at the top of the group, with Sweden in second, and giving the US team the World Cup record for most goals scored in the group stage (18).

  • Chile 2
  • Thailand 0

Roazhon Park, Rennes: As with the earlier elimination game, Chile and Thailand played to a scoreless tie at halftime, which did not bode well for advancement by either team. Early in the second half, Chile benefited from an own goal by Waraporn Boonsing, the goalkeeper for Thailand, in the 48th minute, when Yanara Aedo had a nice shot that ricocheted off the inside of the left post into the back of the keeper’s foot. In the 80th minute María José Urrutia made a well-placed header to score a second goal for Chile, putting them within a single goal of advancing. Just a couple of minutes later, she was fouled by the goalkeeper in the box, giving Chile a penalty kick, but that was taken and missed in the 86th minute, leaving them one goal shy. Despite the domination of Chile over Thailand in this game, as well their first World Cup goal and first World Cup win, 7 minutes of stoppage time and sending the goalkeeper up for an extra attacker, it was not enough and both teams were eliminated.


  • 1st: United States 9 (2-0-0, +18) [advances]
  •  2nd: Sweden 6 (2-0-1, +4) [advances]
  •   3rd: Chile 3 (1-0-2, -3) [eliminated]
  •    4th: Thailand 0 (0-0-3, -19) [eliminated]

The United States plays Spain in the early match on June 24, in Reims. Sweden plays Canada in the later match on June 24, in Paris.

Chile and Thailand become the final two teams eliminated in the group stage, leaving Nigeria (#39) to advance, and with Cameroon this makes the first time two teams from Africa have advanced in the same World Cup. Nigeria plays Germany in the earlier match on June 22, in Grenoble, the first match to be played in the knockout round.

The final games also set the final third place rankings, setting these matches: England and Cameroon play the earlier match on June 23, in Valenciennes; France and Brazil play the later match on June 23, in Le Havre.

The knockout stage bracket is now completely set, and we have a day of rest before the elimination games begin on Saturday.

World Cup: Group E Results


This is the final day of the group stage, with all four Group E and F matches being played today. Yesterday, no additional teams advanced to the knockout stage, so there are still 2 places up for grabs. Scotland was eliminated in a heartbreaking manner, while Argentina had a historic comeback only to put themselves on the bubble in a precarious situation (and improve the chances for Nigeria). Of the eight teams playing today, half are already qualified (and playing each other), while these four are fighting to avoid elimination: Cameroon, New Zealand, Chile, and Thailand.

Group E

Netherlands and Canada had already advanced, and they were playing for the honors of being top in the group, with the loser being runner up; Netherlands would win the group in the event of a draw. Cameroon and New Zealand both needed to win their game to have any chance of advancing; a tie would eliminate both of them immediately (and advance Nigeria). To guarantee advancement, Cameroon had to win by 2 goals, or by 1 goal with at least 2 goals scored, or by 1-0 with few yellow cards and no red cards; New Zealand needed to win by 2 goals, or by 1 with at least 3 goals scored. A win without meeting these requirements would put the winner on the bubble awaiting the outcome of the final games (but any kind of win would eliminate Argentina).

  • Netherlands 2
  • Canada 1

Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims: Canada was awarded a penalty kick just a minute into the game, but it was reversed upon review (as the foul was just outside the box), and Netherlands had some good scoring chances, but the match was scoreless through the first half. In the second half, the Netherlands took the lead with a header goal by Anouk Dekker in the 54th minute. Canada soon answered with a goal by Christine Sinclair in the 60th minute. Then Lineth Beerensteyn scored the winning goal for Netherlands in the 75th minute, giving them first place in the group, and relegating Canada to second.

  • Cameroon 2
  • New Zealand 1

Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier: Cameroon started with more scoring opportunities, but the match remained scoreless at halftime, potentially problematic for teams that needed goals to advance. In the second half, Cameroon opened the scoring with a nice goal by Ajara Nchout in the 57th minute. The score was then leveled when Aurelle Awona made an own goal from a New Zealand service into the box, and it looked like both teams would be eliminated, though the energy ramped up. Finally, with only 12 seconds left in stoppage time, and with a great individual effort and what turned out to be the last touch of the match, Nchout scored in the 95th minute, advancing Cameroon into the knockout stage at the last moment and eliminating both New Zealand and Argentina in one shot.


  • 1st: Netherlands 9 (3-0-0, +4) [advances]
  •  2nd: Canada 6 (2-0-1, +2) [advances]
  •   3rd: Cameroon 3 (1-0-2, -2) [advances]
  •    4th: New Zealand 0 (0-0-3, -4) [eliminated]

Netherlands plays Japan in the later match on June 25, in Rennes. Canada plays the runner up of Group F (on June 24 in Paris), which will be either Sweden or the United States. Cameroon will play either France or England.

These results also fixed one additional match elsewhere: Italy plays China in the earlier match on June 25, in Montpellier.

New Zealand and Argentina become the fifth and sixth teams eliminated from the World Cup this year, and Nigeria remains on the bubble, awaiting the result of the Chile/Thailand (Group F) match later today.

If Chile and Thailand tie, they are both eliminated, and Nigeria advances to take the final spot in the knockout stage. If Chile wins by 3 goals, or Thailand wins by 15 goals (not going to happen), then that team advances, otherwise Nigeria advances on goal differential, and that is definitely the most likely outcome, given that Chile has not scored a World Cup goal ever.

In any event, the final two group stage matches, later today, will set the complete bracket for the knockout stage.

World Cup: Group D Results


Both Australia (#6) and Brazil (#10) locked themselves into the knockout stage, meaning that 14 teams of the Round of 16 are decided, although the matchups are very much still up in the air (only 1 determined so far) depending on remaining group games, while Jamaica was eliminated. There are 6 teams fighting for the final two spots: Argentina, Scotland, Cameroon, New Zealand, Chile, and Thailand, with Nigeria hoping that no more than one of these teams makes a strong claim. Interestingly, all of these teams facing elimination in the final three groups are playing matches against each other, which means that, although none of them have a win yet, this is the best possibility for all of them, with three potential wins on offer.

Group D

England and Japan were already guaranteed to advance, so they were playing for top of the group, with the winner taking the spoils. England would be on top with a tie, and Japan had the possibility to fall as low as third, depending on the results of the other game. Argentina, the only team with a point left to play that was not already into the knockout stage, nevertheless could assure themselves a spot with a victory; Scotland, on the other hand, would be eliminated immediately unless they win; if they did, they would be placed higher than Nigeria in the third place rankings, but on the bubble pending the results of matches tomorrow.

  • England 2
  • Japan 0

Allianz Riviera, Nice: Both teams had decent early chances, but England took the lead when Ellen White scored in the 14th minute, and that lead would last into halftime. Late in the second half, White scored another goal, very similar to her first, in the 84th minute, leaving her looking a little surprised, and leaving England in a commanding situation. Despite some good opportunities for Japan, that was the way it ended, with England winning Group D and Japan finishing as runner up.

  • Argentina 3
  • Scotland 3

Parc des Princes, Paris: Scotland, being in a must-win situation, got themselves on the board first when Kim Little scored a goal in the 19th minute. This would be enough to be in contention to advance, although scoring more could help with the goal differential (if that were to come into play), but that was the extent of the scoring in the first half, with very even possession between the teams. Adding more goals was exactly what Scotland did in the second half, though, with Jenny Beattie scoring a header in the 49th minute and Erin Cuthbert scoring in the 69th minute, giving them a sizable lead with only 20 minutes left in the match. Then it happened…

Facing imminent elimination, Argentina mounted an astounding comeback, starting with a goal by Milagros Menéndez, being the very first goal for Argentina in this World Cup, followed by a scoring shot from Florencia Bonsegundo, officially listed as an own goal by Lee Alexander, the goalkeeper for Scotland, and then Florencia Bonsegundo scored the equalizer on a second penalty kick in the 94th minute in stoppage time (after the first shot, a miss, was reviewed and given again, because Alexander came off her line before the kick was taken). No team had ever lost a 3-goal lead in the World Cup, until today. Argentina has a very slim chance of advancing, but Scotland is eliminated.


  • 1st: England 9 (3-0-0, +4) [advances]
  •  2nd: Japan 4 (1-1-1, -1) [advances]
  •   3rd: Argentina 2 (0-2-1, -1)
  •    4th: Scotland 1 (0-1-2, -2) [eliminated]

England will play the winner of the Chile/Thailand (Group F) match if they qualify, or else the winner of the Cameroon/New Zealand (Group E) match if they quality, or China (Group B) otherwise. Japan will play the winner the Netherlands/Canada (Group E) match. If Argentina advances (unlikely), they will play Germany.

Scotland becomes the fourth team eliminated from the World Cup this year, and in the most heartbreaking fashion. Argentina is now on the bubble. The fate of Nigeria still undecided, but they got the draw they needed in Group D, so they are one step closer to advancing.

For Argentina to advance into the knockout stage, the scenario is quite simple: Cameroon and New Zealand must draw, and Chile and Thailand must also draw; any of those four teams getting a victory eliminates Argentina. Nigeria needs only one of the two following scenarios: New Zealand drawing with Cameroon or winning by one goal (Group E) or Chile drawing Thailand, Chile winning by no more than 2 goals, or Thailand winning by fewer than 15 goals (Group F), the latter scenario being more likely. Note that there is a very slim chance that Cameroon could beat New Zealand 1-0 and Nigeria could advance, but that would require Cameroon losing more than 3 fair play points (or exactly 3 for “drawing of lots”), such as with 4 yellow cards, a yellow card becoming an indirect red, or a direct red card.

Group E and Group F finish up the last group stage matches tomorrow, which will determine the complete knockout stage bracket. The results of the first two games (Group E) will make things clearer with the bubble teams: a draw in the lower game eliminates both teams and advances Nigeria, and a victory eliminates Argentina.

World Cup: Group C Results


Norway (#13) from Group A was added to the pool of teams advancing into the knockout stage, while South Korea became the second elimination. Nigeria remains on the bubble, and 9 teams continue to vie for one of the remaining 4 spots. Brazil and Australia (both playing today) each advance with a win or draw, while Argentina (playing tomorrow) needs a win to assure advancement. Everybody else just needs to do the best they can (or, in the case of Nigeria, wait) and hope for favorable results.

Group C

Italy was already guaranteed to advance, but they could fall as far as third in the group with a loss, whereas Brazil and Australia were tied on points and were both still looking to get into the knockout round, which either could do with a win or tie. Jamaica was still looking for its first ever World Cup goal, point, and win, and they needed to get all three to even stand a chance of advancing.

  • Brazil 1
  • Italy 0

Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes: In what was, as expected, the more competitive game, Italy and Brazil played to a scoreless first half, which result would have advanced Brazil into the knockout stage and guaranteed Italy first place in the group. The second half looked to remain scoreless as well, until Marta became the highest scoring player in World Cup history (women or men), when she scored for Brazil in the 74th minute on a penalty kick given for a soft (shoulder-to-shoulder) foul in the box. Italy stepped up its attacks but the score remained unchanged. However, Italy still won the group on goal differential and Brazil dropped to third with the other game.

  • Australia 4
  • Jamaica 1

Stade des Alpes, Grenoble: Coming into the tournament, this should have been the most lopsided game in Group C, but with Australia being upset in its first round game, they found themselves down in third place and having to fight to qualify for the knockout stages; still, Jamaica is the lowest ranked team in the tournament, yet to score a goal in World Cup play. Before halftime, Sam Kerr scored of pair a nice header goals, the first in the 11th minute and the second in the 42nd minute, giving Australia a strong lead at halftime. Just into the second half, in the 49th minute, Havana Solaun scored the first ever World Cup goal for Jamaica. However, Kerr repeated her first half performance with two more goals, in the 69th and 83rd minutes, to advance Australia (fair 😉 ) into the knockout stage and eliminate Jamaica from the tournament.


  • 1st: Italy 6 (2-0-1, +5) [advances]
  •  2nd: Australia 6 (2-0-1, +3) [advances]
  •   3rd: Brazil 6 (2-0-1, +3) [advances]
  •    4th: Jamaica 0 (0-0-3, -11) [eliminated]

For the first time in Women’s World Cup history, a group ends with 3 teams tied at 6 points each. Italy takes first place based on goal differential, and Australia takes runner up over Brazil due to an 8-6 advantage on goals scored.

Italy plays either Nigeria (if they advance, along with third place of Group D) or China (most likely). Australia plays Norway in the later match on June 22, in Nice. Brazil plays either France (most likely) or Germany.

Jamaica becomes the third team eliminated from the World Cup, and Nigeria remains on the bubble, with only three more scenarios left to get through (now that the Group C scenario did not work in their favor), of which they need two to advance.

Group D plays its last group stage games tomorrow, with Argentina and Scotland fighting to avoid elimination.

World Cup: Group A Results


With the addition of Spain (#12) and China (#15) from Group B to the ranks of teams advancing to the knockout rounds, that leaves 5 spots remaining, with one (South Africa) eliminated. Norway, Nigeria, Brazil, and Australia can each assure a spot with a win or tie. All other teams need a win and/or help from other results.

Group A

France was already guaranteed to advance going into this round. Norway and Nigeria each had the opportunity to advance with a tie or a win, which was arguably easier for Norway, playing South Korea, the last place team in the group, than Nigeria, playing France, the top team. South Korea needed to win to have a chance to advance; winning by 4 goals or more would guarantee at least third in the group.

  • France 1
  • Nigeria 0

Roazhon Park, Rennes: France and Nigeria played to a scoreless first half, with France getting the better opportunities but failing to convert. The second half continued in much the same fashion until the 73rd minute, when a VAR review confirmed a penalty in the box, resulting in an automatic yellow card, which converted into an indirect red card (the second in the match for that player), and a Nigeria being down a player. They seemed to get a reprieve when France missed the penalty shot off the left post, but another review confirmed that the goalkeeper had left her line early, and Wendie Renard did not miss on her second attempt, in the 79th minute. The game increased in intensity, and there was just shy of 10 minutes of stoppage time, but the score remained unchanged. France wins the group with a perfect 9 points, which they have never done before, while Nigeria fails to determine its own future, having now to depend on the results of later games.

  • Norway 2
  • South Korea 1

Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims: Norway started quickly, with Caroline Graham Hansen scoring in the 4th minute on a penalty kick awarded when a player from South Korea wrapped her arms around an attacker and pulled her to the ground; that, however, was the extent of the scoring in the first half, and South Korea had the better of the play. Early in the second half, again, Norway was awarded another penalty kick (on a dangerous play that injured Graham Hansen), which Isabell Herlovsen scored in the 50th minute. As the game started winding down, Yeo Min-ji scored for Korea in the 78th minute to bring the score within a single goal, but that was as close as they would get, despite playing the better game throughout. Norway advances with the win, and with the loss, South Korea is eliminated.


  • 1st: France 9 (3-0-0, +6) [advances]
  •  2nd: Norway 6 (2-0-1, +3) [advances]
  •   3rd: Nigeria 3 (1-0-2, -2)
  •    4th: South Korea 0 (0-0-3, -7) [eliminated]

France will face the third place team in Group C, Group D, or Group E (giving 9 different possible opponents). Norway will face the second place team in Group C (any team in that group). Nigeria is on the bubble and needs to wait for results of the remaining four groups to know whether or not they will advance (and cannot be eliminated before the final day of the group stage).

Nigeria advances if they finish better than two of the third place teams from the remaining four groups. Possible scenarios (Nigeria needs 2):

  • Group C (Tuesday): Jamaica beats Australia by 3-5 goals or Italy beats Brazil by 5 goals or more.
  • Group D (Wednesday): Argentina and Scotland tie.
  • Group E (Thursday early): Cameroon and New Zealand tie or either team wins by exactly 1 goal (assuming the “fair play” tiebreaker if Cameroon wins).
  • Group F (Thursday late): Chile and Thailand tie or Chile wins by only 1 or 2 goals or Thailand wins by fewer than 15 goals.

Group F looks likely to oblige, Group C looks very unlikely to cooperate, and the windows for both Group D and Group E are pretty narrow. Note, also, that most of the third place matchups in the knockout stage cannot be determined until Nigeria is either definitely in or out.

World Cup: Group B Results

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019


The third and final round of the group stage begins today with Group B. There are two games in each group, and both games are played simultaneously to prevent giving an advantage to any teams by them knowing the results of the other game and, therefore, what result is required to advance. (It does not always help.)

Going into the third round, we know that there are two groups (Group E and Group F) that have two remaining teams with zero points; therefore, any team with 4 or more points is guaranteed to advance. This means that in addition to the United States (#1), Germany (#2), France (#3), England (#4), Canada (#5), Netherlands (#7), Sweden (#9), and Italy (#16), mentioned yesterday, Japan (#8) has also guaranteed a spot in the knockout stage. It also means that any of the following teams will qualify for one of the remaining 7 spots by either a win or tie today: Norway, Nigeria, Spain, China, Brazil, and Australia. All other teams need a win and/or some help from other results.

Group B

In Group B, Germany was already guaranteed to advance, playing to win the group (and, most likely, avoid an immediate match against the United States), whereas South Africa needed to beat Germany, hope that the other game did not end in a tie, and also overcome the goal differential deficit just to have a chance to advance; that was a very tall order. Meanwhile, both Spain and China would advance with a tie in their game.

  • Germany 4
  • South Africa 0

Stade de la Mosson, Montpelier: Germany showed no intention of taking it easy in this game. Melanie Leupolz scored a header from a corner kick in the 14th minute to give them the lead, follow by more first half goals from Sara Däbritz in the 29th minute and Alexandra Popp in the 40th minute, plus another in the second half courtesy of Lina Magull in the 58th minute. South Africa, unfortunately, becomes the first team eliminated in this edition of the World Cup.

  • Spain 0
  • China 0

Stade Océane, Le Havre: Although both teams could advance with a tie, they both legitimately played for a victory. Spain completely dominated the game on almost every statistic, including 61% possession and a 24-1 advantage on shots, except for the one statistic that matters: final score. Despite many strong opportunities, China kept them out of the goal. Both teams advance on the tie, with Spain taking second place in the group on goal differential.


  • 1st: Germany 9 (3-0-0, +6) [advances]
  •  2nd: Spain 4 (1-1-1, +1) [advances]
  •   3rd: China 4 (1-1-1, +0) [advances]
  •    4th: South Africa 0 (0-0-3, -7) [eliminated]

Germany will face a third place team from Group A, Group C, or Group D (too many candidates to enumerate). Spain will face the first place team in Group F (either the United States or Sweden). China will face the first place team in Group C or Group D (Italy, England, Japan, Brazil, or Australia). The knockout stage pairings will get much clearer over the next few days.

World Cup: Second Round Results

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019

The second round of games in the Group Stage is now complete, so below are the complete results of the (12) matches, as well as current group standings.

Match 13

  • Nigeria 2
  • South Korea 0

Day 6, Group A, Grenoble: This match was between the two teams in Group A that lost their first matches, with a combined -7 goal differential, but with the tournament format, even third place in a group has a decent chance of qualifying for the knockout stage, so it important to win and stay out of the basement.

In the 29th minute, Kim Do-yeon of South Korea scored an own goal, giving Nigeria the lead, and though there was a VAR review on a possible hand ball, the goal was allowed to stand. In the 58th minute South Korea had a goal disallowed due to offsides. Finally, Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria scored properly in the 75th minute on a fast break from a tight angle to secure the win for Nigeria, and to become only the second Nigerian player to score in different World Cup editions.

Match 14

  • Germany 1
  • Spain 0

Day 6, Group B, Valenciennes: This match was between the leaders of Group B, having both won their first round games. A victory here essentially guarantees advancement to the knockout stage, and while Spain was ahead on goal differential, Germany was the favorite based on world rankings.

The match was fairly even throughout most of the first half, until Sara Däbritz of Germany scored late in the half (42nd minute) to take a lead into halftime. Spain had some opportunities and dominated possession time, but the score held until the end. This was the first time Germany has ever had back-to-back 1-0 victories in the World Cup, and Spain maintains its record of never having lost a World Cup game by more than one goal.

The result of the China/South Africa game later assured the Germany will advance to the knockout stage.

Match 15

  • France 2
  • Norway 1

Day 6, Group A, Nice: This match was between the two winning teams in Group A, and a victory in this game all but guarantees advancement into the knockout stage. (Technically, it is still mathematically possible to have two wins and not advance, but it has never happened in this tournament format.)

Norway started strong and continued that level of play throughout the match, but France scored all of the goals. The first half was scoreless, but Valérie Gauvin scored for France in the 46th minute, just 45 seconds into the second half. Wendie Renard negated that with an own goal in the 54th minute, leveling the score. Much to her relief, France was awarded a controversial penalty kick in the 72nd minute and Eugénie Le Sommer was able to bury it to regain the lead. The host team was able to hold on for a slightly fortunate victory in a game where possession time was exactly equal.

With the other results of day, France is assured a spot in the knockout stage.

Match 16

  • Australia 3
  • Brazil 2

Day 7, Group C, Montpellier: This match was between a Brazil team leading the group with a victory and a +3 goal differential and an Australia team that was ranked higher coming into the tournament but which had suffered an upset loss. On paper, this should have been the closest match of this round (and of the tournament so far), and it did not disappoint.

Brazil started the scoring when Marta scored on a penalty kick in the 27th minute, returning to the pitch for this match after a thigh injury, and also becoming the first player to score in 5 different World Cups. This was followed by Cristiane scoring in the 38th minute (after getting a hattrick in the first round), giving Brazil a nice lead. However, Caitlin Foord scored for Australia a minute into stoppage time, leaving it a one goal game at halftime.

The second period started without Marta for Brazil, and Australia seemed invigorated. Chloe Logarzo scored for them in the 58th minute with a very long shot, bringing the score even. Then, in the 66th minute, Mônica of Brazil scored an own goal under pressure from Australia. There was a lengthy review of the play, in which a player for Australia was offside, but the goal was allowed by the rules because the ball was deliberately played by the defender and the attacking (offsides) player was not involved in the play. Desperately needing a goal, the coach for Brazil made the questionable decision to send in a substitute for Christiane in the 75th minute, leaving the two top stars for Brazil sitting on the bench. Australia held on for the victory.

Match 17

  • China 1
  • South Africa 0

Day 7, Group B, Paris: This match was between the two teams in the lower half of Group B, both having lost first round games. Based on world rankings, China should be a much stronger team, but South Africa is not without its threats, despite being the second lowest ranked team in the tournament.

China played a stronger game, and Li Ying scored in the 40th minute to give them the lead. Just a couple minutes later, China had a header from corner service that hit the crossbar, bouncing almost straight down and mostly crossing the goal line, but failing to score by only an inch or two. They held the 1-0 advantage at halftime. The second half played fairly similarly to the first, albeit without any more goals scored. China scores the victory and, unfortunately, South Africa is now in the position that they have to beat Germany, the #2 team in the world, to have a chance to advance.

Match 18

  • Japan 2
  • Scotland 1

Day 8, Group D, Rennes: This match was between the two lower teams in the group. At first glance, it appeared that Japan should be the clear favorite, as they are higher ranked than Scotland and had a point already; however, Japan gained that point by only managing a tie against a much lower ranked opponent, whereas Scotland played a strong, close game against a much higher ranked opponent.

Japan starting pressuring Scotland early, and they opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Mana Iwabuchi blasted in a goal from the top of the box. Then Yuika Sugasawa scored in the 36th minute on a penalty kick awarded on a very soft foul, giving Japan a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Scotland played better in the second half, ultimately capitalizing on a defensive mistake when Lana Clelland rocketed a shot from just outside the box into the back of the goal in the 88th minute. That was, however, the end of the scoring, making the controversial penalty the game winner.

Match 19

  • Italy 5
  • Jamaica 0

Day 8, Group C, Reims: This match saw Italy attempt to maintain momentum after their upset win in the first round, while Jamaica, the lowest ranked team in the tournament, tried to score their first World Cup goal and take advantage of their best opportunity to win, or at least pick up their first World Cup point with a tie.

Italy was awarded a penalty kick in the 11th minute, which was seemingly stopped by Sydney Schneider, the goalkeeper for Jamaica; however, on review she was deemed to have moved off her line before the kick, and Cristiana Girelli was able to score on the second attempt in the 12th minute. Then, in the 25th minute, she scored her second from service on a corner kick, allowing Italy to take a 2-0 lead into haltime. Only 45 seconds into the second half, in the 46th minute, Girelli completed the hattrick, only the second one for the Italy team in World Cup history (the first being the first ever in Women’s World Cup back in 1991). Jamaica was not without their chances, and played a solid and spirited game, but Italy was too strong and Aurora Galli scored a brace of goals in the 71st and 81st minutes to finish the game, and book a guaranteed spot for Italy in the knockout stage.

Match 20

  • England 1
  • Argentina 0

Day 8, Group D, Le Havre: This match was between the top two teams in Group D, England coming into the day at the top with 3 points, and Argentina having edged out the team they tied in the first round by the final tiebreaker (before “drawing of lots”). The world rankings would predict England (#4) at the top of the group and Argentina (#36) at the bottom. A win for England would guarantee advancement to the knockout stage, and a victory for Argentina would put them in a really good position.

In the first half, England showed the expected dominance, but Argentina held tight and prevented them from scoring, including their goalkeeper Vanina Correa blocking a penalty kick in the 28th minute, which was the first ever penalty kick miss by England in the World Cup. Finally, England broke through when Jodie Taylor managed to score a goal in the 62nd minute, and that was all they would need. Argentina continue to play strong defense and get a few opportunities, but England did enough to win and get through to the next stage. It was also the first time England has managed to win its first two games in the group stage of a World Cup.

Match 21

  • Netherlands 3
  • Cameroon 1

Day 9, Group E, Valenciennes: This match was between one of the two (tied) group leaders, Netherlands (#7), who had to be considered the favorite, and the bottom team in the group, Cameroon (#46), who is nevertheless only at the bottom due to fair play points. However, Cameroon only lost to the top ranked team by a single goal, and Netherlands only won by the same margin, with a goal in stoppage time.

Netherlands looked more aggressive in the first half, but it took until the 41st minute before Vivianne Miedema scored for them on a very nice team play. Cameroon hit back almost immediately, with a goal by Gabrielle Aboudi Onguéné in the 43rd minute on an excellent individual effort, leaving the game tied at halftime. Coming out in the second half, Dominique Bloodworth scored her first international goal in the 48th minute; it was also the first time Cameroon had ever conceded a second half goal in the World Cup, but they did so once more when Miedema scored her second in the 85th minute, icing the victory for Netherlands and assuring their advancement into the knockout stage.

Match 22

  • Canada 2
  • New Zealand 0

Day 9, Group E, Grenoble: This match was between the other (tied) group leader, Canada (#5), the group favorite by world ranking, and New Zealand (#19), who lost a heartbreaker in stoppage time in the first round. A victory for Canada would book a place in the knockout stage, but New Zealand should be a decent challenge.

Canada dominated the first half in every way but the scoreboard, maintaining 73% of the possession, a pass accuracy of 85% (compared to 52% for New Zealand), and having 11 attempts on goals versus just 1 for their New Zealand, who nevertheless kept them out of the goal before halftime. However, the domination continued in the second half, and Jessie Fleming broke through to score in the 48th minute. Then, after having been denied a goal on a beautiful header earlier, Nichelle Prince scored a second goal for Canada in the 79th minute, sealing the win and giving them their first two goal game since 2007. It also advances Canada into the knockout stage.

Spare a thought for CJ Bott of New Zealand, who was hit awkwardly in the hand by a hard shot in the 16th minute and suffered a broken arm.

Match 23

  • Sweden 5
  • Thailand 1

Day 10, Group F, Nice: This match was between one of the winners in the group, Sweden, and the victim of the worst loss in World Cup history, Thailand. With a win, Sweden can book a slot in the knockout stage, while Thailand simply needs to recover and play well in a match in which they are the heavy underdog.

Sweden opened the scoring early, with Linda Sembrandt heading in a goal in the 6th minute. Unlike in their first game, however, Thailand was not without real opportunities to score. Nevertheless, Kosovare Asllani scored in the 19th minute, and later Fridolina Rolfö blasted a goal in from outside the box in the 42nd minute, giving Sweden a commanding 3-0 lead at halftime. Thailand held Sweden scoreless for most of the second half, but Lina Hertig put in a nice header in the 81st minute. However, in stoppage time, in the 91st minute, Thailand broke through with a goal of their own by Kanjana Sung-Ngoen, prompting tears of joy from the bench. Moments later, Sweden was awarded a penalty kick, duly scored by Elin Rubensson in the 96th minute (after a delay for VAR review) just as the game ended. Sweden is guaranteed a place in the knockout stage, but Thailand took some consolation from scoring their first goal in this tournament.

Match 24

  • United States 3
  • Chile 0

Day 10, Group F, Paris: This match was between the United States, coming off of a historic 13-0 victory, and Chile, who lost by a couple of goals in the first round. It would be an amazing result if Chile, ranked lowest in the group, were to put together a competitive match; however, the United States is starting a significantly different lineup for the second round, with seven personnel changes.

The United States opened the scoring when Carli Lloyd made a goal in the 11th minute, setting the record for having scored in 6 consecutive World Cup matches. They continued the momentum with Julie Ertz scoring in the 26th minute on a nice header, and then Carli Lloyd getting a second goal on another header in the 35th minute. The second half ended up being scoreless, despite a penalty kick being awarded in the 78th minute, as Lloyd shot wide left in her attempt for a hattrick. Much of the credit goes to Christiane Endler, the goalkeeper for Chile, who had a number of amazing saves and was named Player of the Match despite the defeat. The United States, in just the second round, has given playing time to every field player on the roster (only the two backup goalkeepers have not played); with the win they clinch a spot in the knockout stage.

Group A

  • 1st: France 6 (2-0-0, +5) [advances]
  •  2nd: Norway 3 (1-0-1, +2)
  •   3rd: Nigeria 3 (1-0-1, -1)
  •    4th: South Korea 0 (0-0-2, -6)

Group B

  • 1st: Germany 6 (2-0-0, +2) [advances]
  •  2nd: Spain 3 (1-0-1, +1)
  •   3rd: China 3 (1-0-1, +0)
  •    4th: South Africa 0 (0-0-2, -3)

Group C

  • 1st: Italy 6 (2-0-0, +6) [advances]
  •  2nd: Brazil 3 (1-0-1, +2)
  •   3rd: Australia 3 (1-0-1, 0)
  •    4th: Jamaica 0 (0-0-2, -8)

Group D

  • 1st: England 6 (2-0-0, +2) [advances]
  •  2nd: Japan 4 (1-1-0, +1)
  •   3rd: Argentina 1 (0-1-1, -1)
  •    4th: Scotland 0 (0-0-2, -2)

Group E

  • 1st: Netherlands 6 (2-0-0, +3) [advances]
  •  2nd: Canada 6 (2-0-0, +3) [advances]
  •   3rd: Cameroon 0 (0-0-2, -3)
  •    4th: New Zealand 0 (0-0-2, -3)

Note: Netherlands wins the next tiebreaker, goals scored, by 4-3 over Canada, as does Cameroon 1-0 over New Zealand).

Group F

  • 1st: United States 6 (2-0-0, +16) [advances]
  •  2nd: Sweden 6 (2-0-0, +6) [advances]
  •   3rd: Chile 0 (0-0-2, -5)
  •    4th: Thailand 0 (0-0-2, -17)


United States (#1), Germany (#2), France (#3), England (#4), Canada (#5), Netherlands (#7), Sweden (#9), and surprise Italy (#16) have now booked themselves spots in the knockout stage. The nature of this tournament format means that no team is mathematically eliminated after the second round, so every team has an incentive to play hard in the third (and final) round in the group stage.

Interestingly, as things stand after the second round, every team that has picked up a point so far would qualify for the knockout stage, and the 8 teams who have lost both games would be done, but we still have one more round to play in the group stage, so things can change. There are still 12 teams fighting for the 8 remaining spots, and even those who are assured a place in the next stage want to win their group, as the winners in a group get (supposedly) easier matches in the first knockout rounds.

Specifically, winners of Groups A-D get matched against third-placed teams, while the Group E and F winners get the runners up in Groups D and B respectively. Runners up in Groups A and C play each other, as do the runners up in Groups E and F. As complicated as that is, third round matches are played simultaneously in each group in an attempt to prevent match manipulation, such as two teams agreeing to not score on each other if a tie would guarantee both teams to advance.

Third round games (and eliminations) begin tomorrow.

World Cup: First Round Results

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019

The first round of games in the Group Stage is now complete, so below are the complete results of the (12) matches, as well as current group standings.

Match 1

  • France 4
  • South Korea 0

Day 1, Group A, Paris: The host country (France) has the honor of playing the first match of the tournament, on a day with only this single game. (This does not happen again until the Quarterfinals.)

France scored in the 9th minute, courtesy of Eugenie Le Sommer, which was the fastest score in an opening game in World Cup history. Wendie Renard scored twice more in the first half, at the 35th minute and in stoppage time, leaving the outcome in little doubt. Amandine Henry added another late in the second half, 85th minute, making this a statement game for the host team.

In fact, it would remain the most decisive victory of the round, until the last game… [foreshadowing]

Match 2

  • Germany 1
  • China 0

Day 2, Group B, Rennes: Germany would be expected to win this game, but China held them scoreless until the second half, and having some excellent scoring opportunities of their own. However, in the 66th minute, Giulia Gwinn gave Germany their only goal and it proved to be enough for a slim victory.

Match 3

  • Spain 3
  • South Africa 1

Day 2, Group B, Le Havre: South Africa got on the board first, with Thembi Kgatlana scoring in the 25th minute what was the first ever goal for South Africa in World Cup play, and they held that lead into the second half. However, Spain was awarded two penalty kicks, each of which Jennifer Hermoso converted into goals, in the 69th and 82nd minutes, to tie the game and then take the lead. Lucia Garcia scored a proper goal late, in the 89th minute, to seal Spain’s first ever World Cup win.

Hermoso becomes the first player to score two goals from penalty kicks in World Cup history. The second comes from a (soft) yellow card foul by Nothando Vilkazi, who had been booked previously and, therefore, received an indirect red card and was removed from the match; she will not be available for South Africa in their match against China on Thursday.

Match 4

  • Norway 3
  • Nigeria 0

Day 2, Group A, Reims: Although Nigeria applied some early pressure, Guro Reiten scored the first goal for Norway in the 17th minute. Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland added a second in the 34th minute, and just about 3 minutes later, in the 37th minute, a failed clear by Osinachi Ohale resulted in an own goal, leaving Norway with a dominant lead before halftime; the score did not change in the second half.

Match 5

  • Italy 2
  • Australia 1

Day 3, Group C, Valenciennes: Australia were the favorites coming into the game, and Sam Kerr gave them the lead with a goal coming off a rebound of her own stopped penalty kick in the 22nd minute. However, Italy had other ideas, with Barbara Bonansea scoring for the Azzurre in the 56th minute to tie the game (having already had an early goal reversed after VAR review). After reversal of another goal that would have given Italy the lead, it looked as though we would have the first tie of the tournament. Then, in the 5th (and final) minute of stoppage time, Bonansea scored to not only give Italy the victory, and the first upset of the tournament, but also the record for the latest winning goal in World Cup history.

Match 6

  • Brazil 3
  • Jamaica 0

Day 3, Group C, Grenoble: There was no shortage of storylines, as this was Jamaica’s first ever World Cup game, and actually the first for any Caribbean nation; they were ranked lowest of all tournament qualifiers, and they were the biggest underdogs. Brazil, however, were playing without Marta, their star, and under a cloud of bad press she helped create. Although Jamaica acquitted themselves well, Christiane scored a beautiful header for Brazil in the 15th minute. She then proceeded to turn that goal into a hattrick with a back post shot in the 50th minute and a perfectly placed direct kick in the 64th minute.

While Jamaica made history simply by starting the game, so did Brazil’s Formiga who, at 41 years and 98 days old, became the oldest player in World Cup history, as well as the first player to appear in seven World Cup tournaments. Christiane’s three goals were also the most by one player, until the last game… [more foreshadowing]

Match 7

  • England 2
  • Scotland 1

Day 3, Group D, Nice: This game had the most historic anticipation coming in, as it was Scotland’s first game in a World Cup tournament, so Scotland and England had never met in the tournament. Beyond that, both teams are part of Great Britain and players from both teams will play under that flag in the Olympics next year, provided they qualify, which is based partially on the performance of the England team this year.

Scotland started the game very strong, but England scored first with a penalty kick by Nikita Parris in the 14th minute, seemingly taking some of the wind out of their sails. Ellen White added another goal in the 40th minute, giving England a solid lead at halftime. Scotland continued to play well in the second half and Claire Emslie brought the score within one by her goal in the 79th minute, the first ever for Scotland in the World Cup. However, that was the last of the scoring and England held on for the win.

Match 8

  • Argentina 0
  • Japan 0

Day 4, Group D, Paris: Japan was a definite favorite in this game, especially given that Argentina had a World Cup record of 0-0-6 and is some 28 positions lower in the world rankings. Japan had a few chances, but failed to capitalize on any of them, leaving the game a scoreless tie, the only tie in the first round. Nevertheless, it was a historic day for Argentina, earning its first point in World Cup play in its third tournament, and could be considered something of an upset.

Match 9

  • Canada 1
  • Cameroon 0

Day 4, Group E, Montpelier: Cameroon was the second largest underdog in this game to Canada, according to world rankings. There was no score for most of the first half, but Kadeisha Buchanan headed in a goal from a corner kick just before halftime (45th minute) to give Canada the lead. The score never changed after that, though Canada did most of the attacking for the duration and certainly earned the victory.

Match 10

  • Netherlands 1
  • New Zealand 0

Day 5, Group E, Le Havre: The teams played to a scoreless draw for the full 90 minutes, minus stoppage time, but despite the lack of goals, there were several good opportunities on both sides, though probably favoring New Zealand. However, substitute Jill Roord scored a goal for the Netherlands in the 92nd minute, leaving New Zealand still seeking its first World Cup win, despite a strong performance. This was the second game of the tournament decided in stoppage time.

Match 11

  • Sweden 2
  • Chile 0

Day 5, Group F, Rennes: This was Chile’s first ever World Cup game, and they acquitted themselves well, playing the favored Sweden team to a scoreless draw until the 72th minute, when the game was stopped for approximately 40 minutes due to weather (specifically, lightning). Everything remained status quo for more than 10 minutes after the restart, when Kosovare Asllani scored for Sweden in the 83rd minute. Madelen Janogy assured their victory with a stoppage time goal in the 94th minute.

Match 12

  • United States 13
  • Thailand 0

Day 5, Group F, Reims: No, that is not a typo: The United States team really did score 13 goals in this game against Thailand, who were thoroughly outclassed. The United States controlled possession for 75% of the time, and Thailand could rarely string 2 passes together, getting only 2 (weak) shots all game (compared to 39 by USA). It was utter dominance — record-breaking dominance.

The game remained scoreless for almost 12 minutes, though it never looked like anything but a United States victory. Alex Morgan scored her first goal in the 12th minute, and the half continued with goals by Rose Lavelle in the 20th minute and Lindsey Horan in the 32nd minute, leaving the United States with a commanding 3-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, the floodgates opened: Sam Mewis (50th minute), Morgan (53rd), Mewis (54th), Lavelle (56th), Morgan (74th), Megan Rapinoe (79th), Morgan (81st), Mallory Pugh (85th), Morgan (87th), and Carli Lloyd (92nd).

In World Cup history:

  • 13-0 is the largest margin of victory
  • 13 is the most goals scored by a team in a game
  • 10 is the most goals score by a team in a half
  • 7 is the largest number of different players scoring in a game
  • 5 is the most goals scored by a single player (Alex Morgan) in a game

To put this into perspective, the United States scored more than a third of all goals in the tournament so far, and Alex Morgan scored more goals alone than any other team in the tournament. The United States scored more goals today than half of the qualified teams had scored in their entire World Cup history. To top it all off, Carli Lloyd’s late goal means that she has a scoring streak of 5 consecutive World Cup games. Wow!

Group A

  • 1st: France 3 (1-0-0, +4)
  •  2nd: Norway 3 (1-0-0, +3)
  •   3rd: Nigeria 0 (0-0-1, -3)
  •    4th: South Korea 0 (0-0-1, -4)

Group B

  • 1st: Spain 3 (1-0-0, +2)
  •  2nd: Germany 3 (1-0-0, +1)
  •   3rd: China 0 (0-0-1, -1)
  •    4th: South Africa 0 (0-0-1, -2)

Group C

  • 1st: Brazil 3 (1-0-0, +3)
  •  2nd: Italy 3 (1-0-0, +1)
  •   3rd: Australia 0 (0-0-1, -1)
  •    4th: Jamaica 0 (0-0-1, -3)

Group D

  • 1st: England 3 (1-0-0, +1)
  •  2nd: Argentina 1 (0-1-0, 0)
  •   3rd: Japan 1 (0-1-0, 0)
  •    4th: Scotland 0 (0-0-1, -1)

Note: Argentina outranks Japan on fair play points (0 to -3).

Group E

  • 1st: Canada 3 (1-0-0, +1)
  • 1st: Netherlands 3 (1-0-0, +1)
  •   3rd: New Zealand 0 (0-0-1, -1)
  •    4th: Cameroon 0 (0-0-1, -1)

Note: New Zealand outranks Cameroon on fair play points (0 to -2).

Group F

  • 1st: United States 3 (1-0-0, +13)
  •  2nd: Sweden 3 (1-0-0, +2)
  •   3rd: Chile 0 (0-0-1, -2)
  •    4th: Thailand 0 (0-0-1, -13)


It is too early to draw any definitive conclusions, except that the United States is undoubtedly the favorite as the defending (and three-time) Champions, with the World #1 ranking, having authored a historically dominant first round win. Based on first match performance, Australia, Germany, and Japan looked soft, while Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Argentina, and Chile all appeared stronger than expected. The second round, which starts tomorrow, should provide more clarity.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019

The World Cup tournament begins today.

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is a quadrennial international football (soccer) tournament. This year, the tournament takes place in France, and runs from June 7 through July 7, over which time there will be 52 matches played in 9 different venues among the 24 qualified national teams.

The host nation (France, this year) automatically qualifies, and the remaining teams are selected based on performance in 6 regional groups, in order to assure participation (albeit, slightly imbalanced) from teams around the world. There are 9 teams (including the host) from Europe, 5 teams from Asia/Australia, 3 from Africa, 3 from North America, 3 from South America, and 1 from Oceania.

The tournament takes place in two stages, starting with the Group Stage, in which all teams play 3 games each against other teams in their group, followed by the Knockout Stage, in which 16 qualifying teams (based on Group Stage performance) play games in a single-elimination bracket, leading to the Final on July 7, 2019.

For the Group Stage, the 24 teams are divided into 6 groups, A through F, with 4 teams in each group, as follows:

Group A:

  • France
  • Norway
  • South Korea
  • Nigeria

Group B:

  • Germany
  • Spain
  • China
  • South Africa

Group C:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • Jamaica

Group D:

  • England
  • Japan
  • Scotland
  • Argentina

Group E:

  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Cameroon

Group F:

  • United States
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • Chile

The Group Stage is played in three rounds, with every team playing exactly once in each round. The first round runs June 7-11, the second round runs June 12-16, and the third round runs June 17-20; this accounts for the first 36 matches. Note that both third round games in each group are played simultaneously, in an attempt to prevent match manipulation (in particular, teams deliberately playing for a tie).

Rankings in the group stage are based on points, where a win is worth 3 points, a tie is worth 1 point for each team, and a loss is worth nothing. Rankings are further determined (when teams have the same number of points) by goal differential in group play, number of goals in group play, result(s) of game(s) between the teams in question, then “fair play points” (essentially, fewest red and yellow cards). If the teams are still tied at that point, the higher team is determined randomly.

The Knockout Stage involves 16 teams selected based on performance in the Group Stage, specifically, the top 2 teams in each group, plus the four best third placed teams among all of the groups (which means that all last placed teams and the two worst third placed teams are eliminated after the Group Stage). The Round of 16 runs June 22-25, the Quarterfinals run June 27-29, the Semifinals are on July 2-3, with the Third place playoff on July 6, and the Final on July 7 to determine the championship.

This is the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup; the first tournament was in 1991. Every previous Champion qualified this year: United States (1991, 1999, 2015), Germany (2003, 2007), Norway (1995), and Japan (2015). Each of these teams has qualified for every tournament, along with 3 others: Brazil , Nigeria , and Sweden . The United States comes into this tournament not only as the defending Champions, but also as the #1 ranked team in the world.

On the other side of the experience scale, there are 4 teams which have never been to the tournament before: Chile , Jamaica , Scotland , and South Africa . Of teams that have qualified before, Spain did not win a game in its one previous appearance, New Zealand has never won a game in 4 appearances, and Argentina has lost every game it has played in 2 appearances.

This will be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup to use the VAR (video assistant referee) system, which reviews decisions made (or not) by a head referee using video replays, including whether or not a goal was (legally) scored, potential penalties, and errors such as misidentification of a penalized player.

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… [whistle]