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Recap: World Cup quarterfinals

Sweden came out victorious after an 18-year losing streak against Germany. (Photo courtesy of BBC.)

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is heating up as the semi-finals take place this coming week. Here is a recap of what went down over the last week in the quarterfinals and what you can expect for the coming round. 

Sweden (2) vs Germany (1)

After an 18-year losing record in major tournaments against Germany, Sweden came through this match with a 2-1 victory.  While Germany’s Linn Magull started off the scoring, the Swedes were able to respond with two of their own from players Sofia Jakobsson and Stina Backstenius. This marked the first time since 1999 that a team has fallen in the World Cup quarterfinals after getting the first ball in the net. It was a disappointing loss for Germany, with captain Alexandra Popp claiming, “We should have done more. […] We lacked that final, killer pass in front of goal.”

Netherlands (2) vs Italy (0)

The Netherlands handily defeated Italy with a 2-0 shutout this past week. Vivianne Miedema, the Netherlands’ all-time leading scorer, headed in her 61st international career goal. The Dutch have the most headers out of each country in the tournament with Miedema adding their fifth. Stefanie van der Gragt contributed the second goal in the victory. 

This was only the second time the Netherlands have made it so far in the World Cup, and a large improvement from their exit in the last 16 in 2015. Since then, they have won multiple tournaments including Euro 2017 in their home country, and are on the rise. 

Italy was the most surprising team this year, having not qualified for the past 20 years. While their journey was cut short, boss Milena Bertolini’s goal of “helping the Italian public discover the women’s game” has definitely been achieved. 

England (3) vs Norway (0)

The Lionesses of England came out roaring and ended up defeating Norway by a score of 3-0. Goals came from Jill Scott, Elton White, and star player Lucy Bronze who has captured the nation since recovering from injury. Phil Neville, team manager, believes the one-sided score came from the women being “more ruthless than before.”

This match reached a record-breaking peak of 7.6 million viewers in the United Kingdom alone, which is 38% of the available audience. BBC Sport has been working to increase viewership in women’s sport with their #ChangeTheGame campaign this summer, which has aligned nicely with the women’s success so far throughout this World Cup. 

Neville also went on to say, “all I wanted my players to say was that they wanted to win the World Cup, but they said they wanted more: to create a name people would relate to, badass women.”

USA (2) vs France (1)

In what was branded in France as “Le Grand Match” between arguably the two greatest teams in the world, the Americans ended up with a 2-1 victory over the host country. 

Megan Rapinoe, who has created quite the name for herself on and off the pitch this tournament scored in both halves to bring home the win. This marks five goals in France for what could very well be her final World Cup. 

The match drew 6.3 million television viewers in the United States, and became the most-streamed FIFA Women’s World Cup game ever with an average of 211,000 views per minute. 

Semi-Final Matches

The first match will be England vs. the United States on Tuesday, July 3rd at 3pm (ET), followed by the Netherlands vs. Sweden on Wednesday, July 4th at 3pm (ET). 

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