FIFA Women World CupEvery national team currently playing in Groups A and B of the 2015 FIFA women’s World Cup has something to look for as they approach the round-of-sixteen qualifications in Monday games. The only possible exception is Ivory Coast, who have lost both their matches already and would look for a miracle to enter the knock-out stage. Hosts Canada have high hopes as they take on the Netherlands at Montreal after their 1-0 victory in the tournament opener against China and a goalless draw against New Zealand thereafter. If the Canadians could edge out Netherlands, a place in the last sixteen will be guaranteed. The Dutch have won against New Zealand on the opening day but their subsequent 0-1 loss to China have weakened their chances for the knock stage. China take on New Zealand and despite the unfortunate loss against Canada, they made up somewhat with a victory over the Netherlands. If the Chinese could beat New Zealand, they could jump back into the reckoning. In Group B, Germany take on Thailand and if they win that match they would be through to the round-of-sixteen. Norway meet Ivory Coast and they are expected to beat them. This will ensure the knock-out entry for them. Meanwhile on Saturday, Colombia shocked France in Group F match and England scored a 2-1 victory against Mexico in the same group. By winning their Group E match against Spain 1-0, Brazil became the second team in the tournament after Japan to qualify for the round-of-sixteen. In the other Group E match, Korea and Costa Rica ended in a 2-2 draw.

In Saturday’s first Group F match, Colombia pulled off the biggest upset of the 2015 women’s World Cup by a historic 2-0 victory over France. Though the French side nearly dominated the possession in the first half, it was Colombia, who scored in the 19th minute. Lady Andrade received a lofted pass and the superbly composed Colombian made no error in getting past the French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. The goal lifted the spirits of the South Americans and they grew in confidence as the match progressed. France could have got the equalizer before halftime but Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda denied it by a brilliant save. After halftime, Colombia enhanced the ball possession and came close to doubling their lead on several occasions. With 20 minutes left, France got two close chances but Sepulveda came in their way. France made three substitutes to increase the attacking options but Colombian defenders didn’t allow any scoring. In the added injury time, Colombia scored again to finish the 2-0 victors.

In a Group E match at Montreal, Brazil defeated Spain 1-0 to join Japan in the Round of 16 of 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. At the start, Spain matched the skills of Brazilian women and denied them on many occasions. Just a minute before halftime, Brazil were rewarded by a great individual effort from Andressa Alves, who tore through the Spanish defense and after beating Spain’s goalkeeper Ainhoa Tirapu, shot into the goal. But the ball was cleared by Jimenez, who sprinted back with a good presence of mind. Luckily for Alves, the clearance came to her and she made no mistake in taking Brazil 1-0 ahead. After halftime, Alves made another attack but the shot went wide. Brazilians totally dominated the last phase but were unlucky not to enhance their lead and finished 1-0 winners in the end

In a Group F match at Moncton, England scored a tough 2-1 victory over Mexico. After losing to 0-1 to France in the earlier match, England couldn’t have afforded another loss. After the scoreless first-half, the game alive in the last 20 minutes as Englishwomen attacked the Mexican goal. In the 71st minute, Fran Kirby smartly converted a half chance to put England in the lead and 10 minutes later, Karen Carney, who had come as substitute in the 66th minute, headed in from a brilliant cross by Alex Greenwood to make it 2-0. Mexican women continued to fight in the late stages and were rewarded in the injury time, when Fabiola Ibarra struck into the goal.

In the second Group E match at Montreal, Costa Rica denied victory to Korea in a dramatic last-minute 2-2 finish. Koreans had an upper hand for the better part of the match although Costa Ricans were the first to take the lead in 17th minute from a decision by Goal-Line Technology. But Korea equalized 4 minutes later and took the 2-1 lead in the 25th minute. Until one minute from finish, Koreans looked the victors but the 89th minute equalizer from Costa Rica’s Karla Villalobos changed everything. With Brazil having already reached the knock-out stage from Group E, the other place will be taken by one team out of Costa Rica, Korea Republic and Spain.