By 90Min
June 21, 2019

After two weeks of dramatic, tense and sensational action, the 2019 Women's World Cup has reached the end of the group stage and now begins the knockout phase of the competition.

16 of the 24 countries who started the tournament earlier this month have progressed to the next round, with the first two last 16 ties kicking off on Saturday 22 June.

Here's a look at the knockout draw, a full group stage summary, what we have learned about the teams so far and what it all means looking ahead in the tournament...

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Round of 16 Draw

Match Date Time* Venue
Germany vs Nigeria 22 June 2019 17.30 Stade des Alpes, Grenoble
Norway vs Australia 22 June 2019 21.00 Allianz Riviera, Nice
England vs Cameroon 23 June 2019 17.30 Stade de Hainaut, Valenciennes
France vs Brazil 23 June 2019 21.00 Stade Oceane, Le Havre
Spain vs United States 24 June 2019 18.00 Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims
Sweden vs Canada 24 June 2019 21.00 Parc des Princes, Paris
Italy vs China 25 June 2019 18.00 Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
Netherlands vs Japan 25 June 2019 21.00 Roazhon Park, Rennes

*All kickoff times are local (CET)


Group Stage Summary & What it All Means Looking Ahead

First and foremost there have been no major shocks, casualties or upsets at the end of the group stage, with all the main contenders and potential dark horses safely navigating the opening section. But the 36 games so far have given us plenty of clues, indicators, questions and answers about what we can now expect heading towards the latter part of the tournaments.


Group A

Host nation France is as good a place as any to begin, with Les Bleues recording three wins from three games to top Group A. It was not, however, as comfortable as an opening night 4-0 demolition of South Korea at a bouncing Parc des Princes suggested it might have been.

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The French were reined in somewhat by Norway in game two and needed a contentiously awarded penalty to ultimately win 2-1. It was then a retaken missed penalty that turned a slightly lacklustre performance against Nigeria in a 1-0 win in their third and final game.

France are still one of the favourites, but they will have to recapture that early verve in order to live up to their potential. A last 16 contest against a potentially very dangerous Brazil side will be a significant test. And, if they win that, France will probably face the USA in the last eight.

Both Norway and Nigeria also qualified from Group A. For Nigeria in particular they have already achieved their target by reaching the knockout rounds for the first time since 1999.

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Group B

Like France, Germany also managed nine points, but there was something not quite right about FIFA's second highest ranked team after laboured 1-0 wins over China and Spain. A 4-0 thrashing of South Africa was more like what we have come to expect, but is there a possibility that a largely young and inexperienced squad is struggling?

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Spain won't be expected to upset the United States in the last 16. China, on the other hand are perhaps marginal favourites against Italy, but going beyond the quarter finals is unlikely.


Group C

Group C was arguably the most interesting in the opening stage, with three of its four teams finishing with two wins and six points each - Italy, Australia, Brazil. It was Italy, at their first World Cup since 1999, who won the group, spurred on by a surprise late first win against Australia.

The Italians may struggle to go much further, although they may still fancy their chances against China next, and it will be Brazil, in that aforementioned last 16 clash with France, and Australia, who will now face a competent Norway side, that will garner more attention. Of all three from this group, the Australians are by far the most likely to go furthest in the competition.

JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/GettyImages

Group D

And so to Group D and England. This is the first time that the Lionesses have won all three games and taken maximum points in a World Cup group stage. But the performances and results both underline their potential to win the tournament and raise serious questions.

England have so far failed to put together a polished performance over a whole 90 minutes. The first halves against both Scotland and Japan were excellent, but they invited unnecessary pressure onto themselves in the second half of both games through poor ball retention. Against Argentina, meanwhile, 1-0 was an underwhelming win against by far the lowest FIFA ranked team in the group, but still a lesson in breaking down resolute opposition defences.

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England were clinical in a 2-0 win against Japan to conclude the group stage in what was always going to be the toughest game of the three. But the frequency with which the Japanese were handed chances through English sloppiness in midfield and at the back was extremely concerning. Only two stunning saves and extreme profligacy let them off the hook.

If England are genuinely going to win this World Cup, they will likely have to face either France or the United States in the semi finals. Gifting chances to either of those two incredibly potent attacks could easily end in disaster. Before then, however, England must beat Cameroon in the next round and also navigate a potential quarter final against Norway or Australia.

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What Japan have shown in the group stage is that, despite being a little light on the physical side, they remain arguably the best technical team in the world. The jury is still out for now.


Group E

The Group E decider this week between Netherlands and Canada has potentially given us plenty of answers about both teams. The Dutch won 2-1, scoring only the second and third goals against Canada in the whole of 2019, showcasing their superb attacking quality to break down a defence that hadn't leaked more than one in a single game since October 2018.

FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

It suggests that Canada are not quite as ironclad at the back at the highest level as we might have thought. That being said, the Canadians have already achieved plenty because this is the first time they have reached the World Cup knockout rounds on foreign soil since 2003, and only the third time overall on the global stage.

Cameroon got the all-important third place in Group E ahead of New Zealand after a late solo goal from Ajara Nchout in the final game. With Nigeria also through, it is the first time two African teams have made it to the knockouts at the same Women's World Cup. Cameroon will look to test England with a physical approach and could even get some joy with a high press.


Group F

The United States have been the most talked about team in France over the last two weeks, underlined further when they set a new World Cup record by beating Thailand 13-0. Only the heroics of goalkeeper Christiane Endler kept Chile from suffering a similar fate, while the Americans ground out a 2-0 win over regular foes Sweden to take maximum points.

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Thailand and Chile were never going to test the USA, while this is not a vintage Swedish team compared to previous generations. But the Scandinavians were arguably unfortunate on the night, conceding a goal that could and probably should have been ruled out for offside and being denied a possible penalty. They also threatened to expose American defensive weakness.

Despite their rampant scoring against Thailand, largely the reason for a new World Cup record for group stage goals (18), this is not just going to be a procession for the United States. Better teams, probably not Spain in the last 16, will seriously test their defence in the later rounds and that potential quarter final against France will be huge. Even if France are upset by Brazil, the Brazilians could also pose a serious threat to that USWNT backline.

DAMIEN MEYER/GettyImages

Now the real business begins...

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