FIFAWWC19 Knockout Stages

The world cup is now well and truly underway and we are now down to our final 8 teams. The round of 16 stage definitely didn't disappoint with some great games and obviously the VAR controversy carried over to this stage with it being brought into action plenty of times.

The first game we had was a 3-0 victory to Germany over Nigeria which to be honest I think I expected as Germany have had the consistency through the tournament so far and have looked a threat. They are definitely a team not to be taken lightly.

Then we had Norway vs Australia and what a game that was. An equalizer from Australia in the 83rd minute took the game to extra time. Then Kennedy ended up being sent off, but the score sent the game to penalties. I honestly though Australia had the game in the bag when it went to penalties but how wrong was I? Norway ended up winning 4-1 on the shootout which saw Kerr absolutely sky her attempt. I am gutted to see Australia go though as they really were one of my underdogs going into the tournament.

Up next is possibly the most controversial game I have seen in years, England came out of the game 3-0 winners against Cameroon but how they managed to stay so calm throughout this game really shows their character as a team. Tempers could easily have blown over after Cameroon players were caught spitting on players, elbowing players and even going in with a seriously dangerous and reckless challenge on captain Houghton then standing over her shouting whilst she is receiving treatment. But that wasn't the end of it you had the Cameroon players seemingly not wanting to carry on with the game after VAR decisions didn't go in their favour, both decisions were actually spot on calls. They even had a FIFA official on the field at half time talking to them and warning them about their actions but it didn't seem to help as the 2nd half was more of the same with one player even seemingly shoving the ref out of the way. The ref herself was definitely not up to scratch and should really have started giving out cards before it got out of hand. I really do hope FIFA take action on this as it really took away from England's victory and really didn't show the sportsmanship you would expect from players at this level. But well done England for carrying on and performing as you would any other game and not get dragged to their level.

Home nation France beat Brazil 2-1 which saw Marta exiting the competition, could that be the last we see of her and Formiga in a Brazil jersey? France have played ok this tournament but I don't believe they have been at the best and they have had quite a few decisions going their way which maybe might not have been given in other instances.

Spain came up against the USA in their knockout game and people seemed to be writing them off before the game even kicked off. But Spain have been playing so well and proving people wrong so I don't know why people didn't give them a chance. USA took the lead early on through a penalty but Spain bounced right back to level the scoring just a few minutes later, they took their fight for the full 90 minutes but unfortunately lost 2-1 to the USA who earnt a second penalty in the 76th minute which honestly I don't think was a penalty it didn't even look like there was contact.

Sweden and Canada was set to be a good match but I went to bed at half time as I was so bored. Sweden came out of the game as 1-0 winners and have looked pretty strong throughout the tournament but I am gutted for Canada, they didn't really seem to hit the tournament running and didn't look like the side who came up against England in the build up to the world cup. Sinclair couldn't seem to get into the game as much as you would like but Beckie had a good game apart from that unfortunate penalty miss. If you go by the rest of the tournament you would say Sweden deserved to progress but I will miss seeing Canada.

Italy have been a bit of a surprise this tournament especially as they topped their group. I didn't get to watch much of this match but China had some decent chances they just couldn't convert where as Italy comfortably took a 2-0 win and that 2nd goal was great. Italy come up against the Netherlands next which will be a big test but seriously don't right them off as they will definitely put up a challenge.

The final game of the round of 16 was the Netherlands vs Japan, where the Netherlands came out 2-1 winners I missed this match as I was at my grandparents but by the sounds of it Japan put up a fight and were unlucky to have a 90th minute penalty scored against them. To me though Japan hadn't looked as much of a threat this tournament as they have in previous years but the Netherlands are definitely looking as good as they did when they won the Euros in 2017. It is going to make a change not seeing Japan in the final this time around. 

When you look at the teams left in the final 8 it is quite amazing to see 7 of the 8 are European teams which just goes to show the quality we have over here and how the game is just getting better and better and I am really looking forward to the quarter finals as there are definitely plenty of games worth watching. Here is what the schedule for the quarters looks like (all times are BST):

Thursday 27th 8pm: Norway vs England
Friday 28th 8pm : France vs USA
Saturday 29th 2pm : Italy vs Netherlands
Saturday 29th 5.20pm : Germany vs Sweden

It really is going to be interesting to see who progresses to the semi-finals.

See you soon

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