The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

DI staff predicts Women’s World Cup quarterfinals

The Women’s World cup is heating up, and with the winners of the last two tournaments out of the running, the trophy is up for grabs as the eight remaining teams progress to the quarterfinals.

The round of 16 had the world on the edge of their seats, with two games going to penalty kicks and four-time tournament winners the United States crashing out of the competition. 

Plenty of favorites are still left in the game. Japan is the only remaining country to have won the tournament before, while their upcoming competitor Sweden has reached the podium multiple times. European cup champions England are still in the running, as well as host country Australia.

With only one game between these teams and the semi-finals, the level of playing is sure to be top tier this coming weekend. Here are our picks for the four semifinalists.

Spain vs. The Netherlands – Maaike Niekerk

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    Both of these teams have put up impressive performances over the past couple of weeks. 

    Spain has dominated the majority of their games so far, with the only exception being a crushing loss to former world champions Japan. The team tore Switzerland apart with a 5-1 win in the round of 16, despite starting the match off on the wrong foot with an own goal.

    The Netherlands hasn’t had quite the scoreboard the Spanish have put together over the course of the tournament, though unlike Spain, they were able to pull off a group win in the first round.

    However, the team could be in better shape heading into the quarterfinals. Though they were able to handle South Africa in the round of 16 easily enough, the match resulted in a suspension for star midfielder Daniëlle Van de Donk, who will be unable to compete against Spain.

    With lead scorer Lineth Beersensteyn just coming off an injury as well, the Dutch look like they will put up a fight, but it may not be strong enough to overtake the powerhouse that is Spain. I predict Spain will pull off a win and take the semi-final spot.


    Japan vs. Sweden – Adam Rosen

    Well, Sweden did what I expected, knocking off the No. 1 team in the world, the United States. Japan had lost to that same American side in 2015, in the final. Now, with no clear favorite, the tournament has a chance to provide even more spectacular memories.

    I would personally expect Japan to win this match, despite Sweden riding high. To me, the Americans outplayed Sweden, but couldn’t put it in the net, and the Swedes capitalized. 

    I don’t expect them to have the same result, and I think Japan will get to the semis.


    England vs. Columbia – Maaike Niekerk

    Labeled by the Atlantic as “the team everyone should root for,” Columbia’s scrappy up-and-coming squad have been a fan favorite at this world cup. Not often getting the spotlight, the team has pushed past strong squads, including Germany, to get to the quarterfinals.

    Currently ranked 25th in the world, it’s incredible that Columbia now finds themselves in the top eight in the tournament. However, the team certainly has their work cut out for them as they square up with England’s European champion team.

    Despite missing star scorer Beth Mead due to an ACL injury, the Lionesses have managed to slide by this world cup, with their only huge win being a 6-1 over China in the group stage. The team barely made it past Nigeria on penalties, with top player Lauren James earning a shocking red card.

    I expect this match to be much closer than people might think. Though England’s strong reputation precedes them, the Lionesses are in more trouble than they’d want this late in the tournament. However, I think the team’s abundance of experience will help them to a close win against Columbia late in the game.


    Australia vs. France – Adam Rosen

    The hosts versus one of the best in the world. I would love to pick the Australian side for the fun and the awesome storylines. 

    I just can’t do it, I absolutely see France winning and moving onto the semis, as the men and women’s team will have both made it at least to the semis in their respective World Cup.

    But, I could still see a fun upset, and regardless, the match will still provide sure fire entertainment for viewers.

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    About the Contributors
    Maaike Niekerk, buzz Editor
    My name is Maaike Niekerk, and I am a sophomore majoring in English with minors in music and journalism. I began working with The Daily Illini during the fall semester of my freshman year as a buzz staff writer, and joined the editorial team last summer. I love bringing live event coverage to you from Champaign-Urbana’s vibrant music scene and sharing stories of local artists and musicians. Outside of The Daily Illini, you’ll find me performing at every football game with the Marching Illini or cycling with the 2024 Illini 4000 bike America team.
    Adam Rosen, Assistant Sports Editor
    Hello! I’m Adam and I’m a senior majoring in journalism. I’m one of the assistant sports editors, and this is my second year with The DI. I love to talk about sports, so if you have any questions or desire to talk about a random athlete from 10 years ago or why Messi > Ronaldo, contact me at my email below!
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