With the second week of the World Cup in the books and most of the groups decided, only the conclusion of play in Group H awaits ahead of knockout stage play. The group stage gave us shocks, upsets, blowouts, and everything in between. Let’s talk about the groups that have been decided as well as previewing the knockout stage.
After suffering a shocking defeat in their first match to hosts New Zealand, Norway rallied back to advance to the knockout stage by drawing with Switzerland and defeating the Philippines. The Philippines pulled off a shock upset of their own over New Zealand. Meanwhile, Switzerland coasted to the knockout stage and the group win with a victory over the Philippines and draws against Norway and New Zealand. While New Zealand and Norway finished with an equal number of points, Norway possessed the greater goal differential and found themselves second in the group standings.
Final Standings of Group A
- New Zealand
- The Philippines
Canada’s Women won Olympic Gold in 2021. Two years later they found themselves eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup after being trounced by Australia. Nigeria, by virtue of their shocking win over Australia as well as draws against Ireland and Canada, advanced in the second spot from Group B. Australia’s victory over Canada gave them the top spot.
Final Standings of Group B
Japan looks like a real contender after breezing through the group stage with three wins and a +11 goal differential. Spain joined Japan in the knockout stage with two victories, suffering their only defeat of the group stage to Japan. Zambia managed to defeat Costa Rica to secure third place in Group C which should provide some solace in spite of their failure to advance.
Final Standings of Group C
- Costa Rica
Like Japan in Group C, England left no doubt about their advancing to the group stage of the World Cup. The English won all three of their matches to secure first place. Denmark in second won against China and Haiti to advance, suffering their only defeat of the group stage against England. China’s win over Haiti netted them third place in Group D.
Final Standings of Group D
Far from impressive, the USWNT managed to advance to the group stage nonetheless. After winning their match against Vietnam, the U.S. could only manage draws against the Netherlands and Portugal. Meanwhile, the Netherlands won Group E by virtue of their victories over Portugal and Vietnam. Portugal gave the USWNT quite a scare but were unable to find the goal that would have allowed them to advance.
Final Standings of Group E
- United States
Brazil were one of the favorites to advance to the knockout stage. However, Jamaica stunned the Brazilians by drawing against them to advance to the knockout stage in an incredible final match of the group. It was truly an inspiring performance from a team that didn’t have high expectations going into the World Cup. Meanwhile, France advanced as the winner of Group F with their victories over Brazil and Panama as well as a draw against the aforementioned Jamaicans,
Final Standings of Group F
Many predicted Sweden as the favorites to win the World Cup heading into group play in New Zealand and Australia and they haven’t disappointed. The Swedes won all three of their matches in group play. Surprisingly, South Africa will join Sweden as the second team to advance from Group G. South Africa shocked Italy in the final match of Group G to punch their ticket to the knockout stage. The football powerhouse nations of Italy and Argentina find themselves on the outside looking in.
Final Standings of Group G
- South Africa
In the lone group left to be decided, Colombia sits atop the leaderboard courtesy of their upset victory over Germany. Thursday’s meeting with Morocco is all that stands between Colombia and the knockout stage. With a win or draw, advancement is assured. Their positive goal differential gives them a bit of cushion on a possible loss as well. Germany sit second in the group and face bottom of Group H South Korea tomorrow. While nothing is guaranteed in the World Cup, I do feel confident in predicting the Germans and Colombians to advance when group play wraps up.
Update: With Morocco’s win over Colombia and Germany’s draw with South Korea, Colombia wins the group and Morocco advances with a second-place finish in the group.
Current Standings of Group H
- South Korea
With just one group left to be decided, most of the matchups for the knockout stage are set. Things are sure to heat up as it will be win or go home. Check out the matchups below.
Switzerland vs. Spain – 12 a.m. CT
Japan vs. Norway – 4 a.m. CT
Netherlands vs. South Africa – 9 p.m. CT
Sweden vs. United States – 4 a.m. CT
England vs. Nigeria – 2:30 a.m. CT
Australia vs. Denmark – 5:30 a.m. CT
Colombia vs. Jamaica – 3:30 a.m CT
France vs. Morocco – 6 a.m. CT
Who do you think will end up winning the tournament? Let us know on Twitter!