Stars set as knockout phase begins
Round of 16 opens with Germany facing Nigeria
Norway and Australia then clash in Nice
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The FIFA Women's World Cup™ resumes on Saturday with two intriguing inter-continental clashes to kick off the Round of 16. Two-time winners Germany face African champions Nigeria, while dark horses Australia and Norway meet on the south coast.
Germany-Nigeria: Round of 16, Grenoble, 17:30
Team reporter analysis
Steffen Potter (GER) The German players will have been glued to their TVs yesterday to find out who they will be up against. They now know it's Nigeria, although DFB staff had told us that they had scouts spread across France to cover all bases. Germany made a big step forward in their 4-0 win over South Africa and reiterated this week that they intend to further improve in the knockout phase.
Ann Odong (NGA) Nigeria had to wait until the very end of the group stage to confirm their place in the Round of 16. This is the first time in 20 years the Super Falcons have qualified for the knockout stages and the celebrations were worthy of the long wait. Unfortunately they will be without two key players, Ngozi Ebere and Rita Chikwelu, for the clash with Germany. Nigeria feel confident in their defence after two solid performances, and they will also be hoping their forward line can breach a German defence that has not conceded thus far.
Norway-Australia: Round of 16, Nice, 21:00
Philip O'Connor (NOR) Norway head coach Martin Sjogren is confident that his side have what it takes to overcome Australia and make it to the quarter-final. But much will hinge on the fitness of Caroline Graham Hansen. The winger scored one penalty and won another in the 2-1 group win over Korea Republic, but suffered a nasty knock to her ankle and had to be withdrawn. Sjogren will be praying that she makes it as Norway are a much more potent attacking force with Hansen in the team.
Peter Smith (AUS) Australia’s confidence is high after seven goals in two matches, with their opening slip-up against Italy now a distant memory. The Matildas won’t back away from their full throttle attacking approach and the contest could well be another goal-fest with Australia having won by the odd goal in seven when the teams last met in 2018. Ante Milicic is optimistic of having a full roster available and welcoming back the experienced pair of Tameka Yallop and Clare Polkinghorne, who missed the win over Jamaica. Norway, though, have had one day more than the Aussies to recover - could that prove crucial?
Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.
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