FIFA Women’s World Cup: 2 More Country Advance to Quarterfinals

sam kerr celebrating after striking a goal
Photograph by Adama Davy / AP

Australia Advances to Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal as Sam Kerr Debut in the Tournament

Australians’ hearts were warmed by a late appearance from Sam Kerr, but it was the creative dynamo, Mary Fowler, who stole the limelight in the nation’s media following the Matildas’ victory over Denmark at the Women’s World Cup. The 2-0 win at a packed Stadium Australia in Sydney demonstrated that the Matildas are not solely reliant on one player, as they had previously thrashed Canada without their captain-striker, Kerr.

Roared on by the majority of the 75,784 spectators, co-host Australia advanced to the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals with an impressive 2-0 triumph over Denmark in Sydney. To add to the celebration, star striker Sam Kerr, who had missed the group games due to a calf injury, made her first World Cup appearance as a second-half substitute. You might wanna check out our prediction.

Reflecting on her comeback, Kerr expressed relief and joy, remarking, “It’s been a long three weeks, but yeah, it’s amazing.” However, she also voiced her discontent with the attention her injury received, including a helicopter hovering over the Matildas’ training ground. Kerr emphasized that it’s not about her, but about the team preparing for the World Cup, and felt the focus on her injury was disrespectful.

australia’s katrina gorry, left, and denmark’s pernille harder challenge for the ball
Australia’s Katrina Gorry, left, and Denmark’s Pernille Harder challenge for the ball [Rick Rycroft/AP Photo]
Australia took the lead through an exceptional counterattacking move, with Mary Fowler providing a precise pass to set up Caitlin Foord for a well-placed shot past the Danish goalkeeper. Denmark attempted to find an equalizer, but Australia’s solid defense and Hayley Raso’s goal midway through the second half secured their place in the quarterfinals.

Facing either France or Morocco in the next round, Australia and Denmark started their last-16 clash with high intensity, creating several opportunities to score. The 20-year-old Fowler’s sublime assist allowed Foord to put the co-hosts in the lead, driving the passionate crowd into a frenzy.

Despite Denmark’s efforts to press forward, the Matildas remained dangerous on the counter, and Foord came close to scoring her second goal just before halftime. The anticipation grew when cameras captured Sam Kerr warming up on the sidelines, and the crowd erupted in cheers when she made her tournament debut, replacing Raso in the 80th minute.

A tense moment occurred shortly after Kerr’s entry when she fell awkwardly without any opposition player nearby, but she quickly recovered and even joked about it after the game. With resolute defending, minor Danish errors, and unwavering support from the home crowd, Australia held onto its lead and secured the victory.

Elated by the win, Australian defender Clare Hunt expressed their positive outlook and strong momentum as a team and a support system in the country. With the home advantage, the Matildas are eager to surpass their previous Women’s World Cup quarterfinal record and make history on their home turf.

No Laureen James, No Problem! England advances to the Knockout Stage

England’s star player, Lauren James, received a red card during regular time, but the Lionesses managed to secure a spot in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals by triumphing over Nigeria in a penalty shootout in Brisbane on Monday.

In the 87th minute, James was shown a red card for a moment of madness when she stepped on Michelle Alozie’s back. Despite being reduced to 10 players, England held on during extra time, taking the match to a dramatic shootout.

Although Georgia Stanway missed the first penalty, England displayed remarkable accuracy with the remaining spot-kicks. Chloe Kelly, known for delivering in crucial moments, secured a 4-2 victory on penalties by smashing her effort into the roof of the net.

“We’ve been practicing [penalties] a lot actually, and yeah, it’s working,” Kelly shared with the BBC after the match. “For me, it’s, ‘I’m going to score,’ and that’s how I look at it. Once I win that mental battle, we’re good.”

Nigeria was the stronger team and had opportunities to clinch a surprising victory over the European champions. However, during extra time, the Lionesses fought tenaciously. With Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” echoing in the stadium during halftime, England demonstrated resilience and determination.

england advances to quarterfinals of fifa womens world cup 2023
Naomi Baker – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

The Super Falcons came close to scoring, striking the crossbar twice before the game headed into extra time. Ashleigh Plumptre, born in England and playing for Nigeria, impressed throughout the tournament and nearly netted a sensational goal with a powerful shot in the first half.

“We deserved to win, but it’s the way it is. We just have to go back to the drawing board and keep building from here. Next time, we have to take our chances. We have to do more, and we’ll keep working individually and collectively,” Nigeria forward Rasheedat Ajibade expressed to CNN.

Despite England fans’ initial confidence in a comfortable victory, nerves gripped them as the game approached its conclusion. However, to their delight, the Lionesses secured the win, and the unofficial anthem, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” resonated inside Brisbane Stadium as fans celebrated the continuation of England’s World Cup journey.