Of the quarterfinalists, who is most likely to win the Women's World Cup? Liviu Bird ranks the remaining teams in Canada.
In a tournament that saw several debutant nations turn heads for the first time at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the last eight teams look remarkably familiar. Three of the quarterfinalists have won the title, including the United States, and six have placed in the top four.
Still, there has been a reshuffling of the world order in women’s soccer recently. The U.S. isn’t playing like the powerhouse we've become accustomed to seeing, with other nations beginning to invest more heavily in the sport and give their women’s teams a considerable amount of support to qualify for and do well in big tournaments.
As it stands right now, the U.S. might not even be favored to make the final, especially being on the tougher side of the knockout bracket. Certainly, the team’s sudden pressure to evolve after dominating the sport for the last two and a half decades means that it will need to be at the top of its game to make it past Germany or France, should it reach the semifinals.
On the other side, Australia started the tournament with a loss to the U.S. but showed plenty of promise since then. Japan has played some of the best team soccer in the tournament, and host nation Canada would like nothing more than winning it all on its own turf in Vancouver.
Here’s how the eight remaining teams in the 2015 Women’s World Cup stack up: