Women's World Cup 2015: Biggest Twitter Takeaways Following the Round of 16

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistJune 24, 2015

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 23: Mizuho Sakaguchi #6 and Rumi Utsugi #13 of Japan celebrate at the final whistle after defeating the Netherlands 2-1 during the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Round of 16 match between the Netherlands and Japan June, 23, 2015 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The United States is underwhelming, Australia and England are making history, and France, Germany and Japan look dominant after the round of 16 at the 2015 Women's World Cup, at least according to Twitter.

The dream is still alive for eight squads as the World Cup heads into the quarterfinals. Here is a look at the top reactions from the previous round and storylines to follow in the tournament moving forward.

U.S. Not in Top Form 

Despite continuing offensive woes, the U.S. won 2-0 Monday against a Colombia team playing with 10 women after a red card to goalkeeper Catalina Perez. 

The team's attack appeared anemic, as it has throughout the tournament, and does not resemble a squad many viewed as the favorite coming into the World Cup. Abby Wambach stood out for her poor performance, which also included a missed penalty kick. The kick was so bad that it may have sailed to another part of Alberta, Canada, per the Washington Post's Steven Goff: 

Steven Goff @SoccerInsider

Wambach's penalty kick just now landed in Banff.

All jokes aside, Wambach took responsibility for her play and praised her teammates for lifting her up: 

Abby Wambach @AbbyWambach

Great result!! So happy for @alexmorgan13 and @CarliLloyd for getting your goals!! Need to finish mine... That's my bad.You guys had my back

The U.S. arguably faces a bigger issue on the pitch than Wambach heading into its quarterfinal matchup Friday with China. Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday each received yellow cards in the first half Monday and will miss the next contest due to card accumulation. Wambach also made controversial comments about the referees on this matter, which she later apologized for. 

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

.@AbbyWambach clarifies controversial comments made regarding referee in exclusive conversation with @JennyTaft. http://t.co/KiNoL09QCb

Some, like the Toronto Sun's Kurtis Larson, called for Wambach to be punished for her remarks: 

Kurtis W. Larson @KurtLarSUN

There's no way around it, FIFA must suspend Abby Wambach for comments about refereeing http://t.co/M32VfsWeKA http://t.co/cC6njJYh3R

Rapinoe and Holiday have played big roles for the U.S. and will be tough to replace. While the rest of the team has lacked a lot of offensive punch, these two are the team's top playmakers so far in the tournament, according to ESPN Stats & Info: 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Rapinoe, Holiday to miss match vs. China. Their 18 combined chances created are 1 fewer than rest of #USWNT combined http://t.co/jLQzoFbpfb

While Rapinoe's replacement has yet to be reported, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis has already decided on who to play for Holiday, per NBC Sports' Jeff Kassouf: 

Jeff Kassouf @JeffKassouf

Jill Ellis says Morgan Brian is the likely replacement for suspended Lauren Holiday. #USWNT

The U.S. will have a tough task taking on China, who plays superb defense and does not take many chances. MLSSoccer.com's Charles Boehm speculated if the United States' personnel will be enough to overcome the Chinese strategy: 

Charles Boehm @cboehm

The most immediate problem: There is no replacement for Rapinoe. Who else can play the "scheme breaker" role against China's parked bus?

All is not bad for the United States. Despite playing poorly to this point, the team has relatively dominated every team it has played thus far. The back line has absolutely suffocated its opponents, having not allowed a goal since the 27th minute of the first group-stage match, which took a spectacular effort from Australia's Lisa De Vanna. 

China possesses far less offensive punch than the U.S. It plays extremely defensive, which means the Americans will likely spend plenty of time on the attack while China will hardly produce any chances. Look for the U.S. to infiltrate at least once and advance with a 1-0 victory.

Historic Wins Keeping Hopes Alive 

Australia, also known as the Matildas, pulled off the upset of the round by taking down Brazil 1-0. 

While the win was historic, it is not like this team is some fluke. It's the only team to score on the U.S. so far and is also playing like a dark-horse title contender. SB Nation's Kevin McCauley also noted that Australia could knock out the defending champions: 

The Matildas will certainly challenge Japan, but it will likely be to no avail. The Japanese have been truly dominant to this point with their combination play up front. Australia has a young squad and will look to build on this successful run for the future. 

Meanwhile, Canada and England earned huge victories and will play each other in the quarterfinals. Canada, the host nation, edged out Switzerland 1-0 while the English stormed back to defeat Norway 2-1 thanks to this rocket from Lucy Bronze: 

Futbol Stuff @FutboIStuff

Lucy Bronze has just scored an absolute screamer for England! 🔥 https://t.co/9lkShWVWtj

Bronze reacted after the game by posting this unique celebration with a teammate: 

Lucy Bronze @LucyBronze

Obviously apart from winning the game! This had to be the best reason for scoring!! We did it 😁🙌🏼 @JordanNobbs8 💜 https://t.co/ofNK5vDAT9

The victory gave England its first-ever knockout stage win. BBC's Jacqui Oatley offered this bit of history following the game, which could also be promising to Australia: 

Jacqui Oatley @JacquiOatley

Omen for @England: #JPN had never won a knockout match at a @FIFAWWC before 2011 when they became world champions! #ENG #Lionesses

The host nation was just as ecstatic. Even though she is not on the national team roster, fellow Canadian international Janine Beckie expressed her joy at her country's performance: 

Janine Beckie @janinebeckie4

I think I just scared my neighbor with how loud I just screamed... YES! what a finish @JoseeBelanger9! Go Canada go! #CAN

Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl also commended the team on its win: 

Grant Wahl @GrantWahl

World Cups are always better the longer the host team stays alive. Better 2nd half from #CAN. Will face #NOR or #ENG in QF. McLeod huge.

This match should be even. Canada has struggled offensively, amassing just three total goals in the tournament, while England has scored a solid six goals. However, the host nation has allowed two goals while England has been scored on in all four of its games. 

One of Canada's goals came against defensive powerhouse China, whom they defeated 1-0. The Canadians have also played tougher competition thus far, as they also played the Netherlands to a tie. Besides Norway, England lost to France, its only other strong opponent. 

With the home crowd behind it and an experienced, defensive style better suited for later stage matches, Canada will win 1-0.

Top Teams Impressing 

While the U.S. is trending down, France, Germany and Japan are going in the opposite direction. 

All three teams cruised to easy wins in the round of 16, including a Germany's 4-1 thrashing of Sweden. The U.S. played the Swedes to a scoreless draw in the group stage. 

The Germans will take on France in the quarterfinals, which could be the best match of the tournament, according to ESPN's Paul Carr: 

Paul Carr @PaulCarrTM

Final: #FRA 3-0 #KOR 3rd-ranked France & top-ranked Germany, perhaps the two best teams in the tournament, meet in the quarters on Friday.

As ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle notes, the Germans' play seems to indicate they are ready to conquer a treacherous road to the World Cup final: 

Jeff Carlisle @JeffreyCarlisle

"So, Germany, you'll have to beat Sweden, France, and the US to reach the final." Their response today? "So?" #FIFAWWC

That these teams are meeting in a quarterfinal is a tough draw. Both are major players to win the tournament, and this match is certainly worthy of being a final. 

Germany is the only other team along with the U.S. to reach the quarterfinal stage in all seven World Cups. It also has looked dominant thus far while France has one blemish against Colombia. The Germans will win 2-1 based on their pedigree and consistent play throughout this tournament. 

Japan looks primed to defend its World Cup. The team has looked completely in rhythm on both ends of the pitch, which Bleacher Report's Michael Cummings commented on: 

Mickelito @MiguelCominguez

Watching #JPN is the antidote to #USA in this WWC. All technical skill, movement, passing, teamwork. So refreshing.

Just look at this remarkable goal Tuesday against the Netherlands, courtesy of TSN's Bruce Arthur: 

Bruce Arthur @bruce_arthur

Not sure the Vine of that Japan goal went through. Eh, either way, watch it again. https://t.co/ZqRwvWoOum

Although Australia has played well, Japan appears just too dynamic at the moment. As noted before, the defending champions will move on.


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