Group stage concludes with titanic tussles

  • Top spots contested by Netherlands and Canada, USA and Sweden

  • Those behind them still chasing qualification to the last 16


The France 2019 group stage goes out with a bang on Thursday with two matches between genuine title contenders. Top spot in Groups E and F are on the line as holders USA face bogey team Sweden in Le Havre, while Canada take on European champions the Netherlands in Reims.

In the other fixtures, nothing is yet lost for any of the four sides involved - even if Thailand will need a football miracle to put themselves in the last-16 frame.

GRENOBLE, FRANCE - JUNE 15: Nichelle Prince of Canada celebrates after scoring her team's second goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group E match between Canada and New Zealand at Stade des Alpes on June 15, 2019 in Grenoble, France. (Photo by Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Netherlands-Canada, Group E, Reims, 18:00

Team Reporter analysis

Emma Coolen (NED) With a ticket to the Round of 16 already booked, Sarina Wiegman’s Oranjeleeuwinnen want to turn on the style. Wiegman has been satisfied with their results but says her side “can do so much better” when it comes to the quality of their performances. A Canada side also assured of their place in the next round might prove the perfect opponents for the Dutch Lionesses to rediscover the spark that brought them the European title.

Mona Yeganegi (CAN) Canada have reached the last 16 but sit second in Group E with the Netherlands ahead on goals scored. The Canadians are keen to win this match and top the table with captain Christine Sinclair having warned about the dangers of speculating on knockout phase opponents. A slight change in the line-up is expected to increase momentum, add some freshness and possibly catch the Dutch off guard.

VALENCIENNES, FRANCE - JUNE 15: The Cameroon players form a team huddle prior to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group E match between Netherlands and Cameroon at Stade du Hainaut on June 15, 2019 in Valenciennes, France. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Cameroon-New Zealand, Group E, Montpellier, 18:00

Cynthia Nzetia (CMR) Beaten in both of their opening two matches, Cameroon will be fighting hard to secure their first points of the competition. They need a win and they need to score goals, too. Finding the net against the Netherlands should have given them confidence in that respect.

Brendan Bradford (NZL) It’s now or never for the Football Ferns. After two losses, Tom Sermanni’s side need three points against Cameroon to have any hope of claiming a spot in the second round. That situation will force the Kiwis into attack mode. Complicating matters, though, are injuries to key defenders Meikayla Moore and CJ Bott.

REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Alex Morgan of the USA celebrates with teammate Megan Rapinoe after scoring her team's tenth goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Sweden-USA, Group F, Le Havre, 21:00

Alexandra Jonson (SWE) Sweden are ready for their first major test of the tournament. USA are opponents they know well with several of the Swedes' players having faced them in previous competitions. The Americans’ style should suit them too as both sides like to play a more physical game. After two relatively comfortable wins, this is where we'll see how strong Sweden – and their defence in particular – really are.

Erin Fish (USA) While USA and Sweden are both safely through to the last 16, the rich history between the teams makes this a mouth-watering fixture. Sweden inflicted the US's first and – to date – only group-stage loss at a Women’s World Cup back in 2011. More recently, at the 2016 Olympics, the Swedes were responsible for the Americans failing to reach the last four of a major tournament for the first time in their history. The holders know they’ll need to be at their best to avoid a repeat in Le Havre.

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Kanjana Sung-Ngoen of Thailand celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Sweden and Thailand at Stade de Nice on June 16, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Thailand-Chile, Group F, Rennes, 21:00

Piyapat Saropala (THA) Taking goal difference into account, it’s almost impossible for Thailand to reach the next round as one of the best third-place finishers. But the mentality of the team remains positive and they are hopeful of securing a positive result against Chile. These might be the weakest teams in Group F but this should be a very entertaining match.

Cecilia Lagos (CHI) While likely to depend on other results going their way, Chile know that they need to beat Thailand to have any chance of making it through. They will go all out to get that win. The Chilean team has struggled to create chances all year and they will need to be aggressive and effective while remaining wary of fast Thai counter-attacks.

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