Women's World Cup Quarterfinals 2019: Bracket Predictions for Friday Schedule

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2019

United States' Alex Morgan, second right, celebrates after scoring her side's 12th goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Morgan scored five goals during the match. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

The Women's World Cup continues Friday with the most anticipated matchup of the tournament so far. 

France and the United States will battle it out in Parc des Princes in Paris with a trip to the semifinals on the line. The quarterfinal match is the only game of the day, keeping the full focus on two of the best teams in the world.

Although it's a matchup worthy of the tournament's final, only one team will advance to the next round.


Quarterfinal Schedule

June 27: England def. Norway, 3-0

June 28: United States vs. France at 3 p.m. ET

June 29: Italy vs. Netherlands at 9 a.m. ET

June 29: Germany vs. Sweden at 12:30 p.m. ET


United States vs. France Preview

Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Although this is only a quarterfinal, no one is overlooking this match. In fact, the Americans are hoping to have as much fanfare as possible.

"I hope it's huge and crazy," U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe said, per Nancy Armour of USA Today. "That's what it should be. This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted. I think we want it. It seems like they're up for it. ... These are the biggest games you dream about as a kid."

It's quite a statement from someone who won the 2015 World Cup.

Manager Jill Ellis also called the match "a magnificent showcase piece for our sport." 

The United States is ready for the moment, and the team has enough talent to advance.

Alex Morgan hasn't even been at full strength in this tournament and still has five goals, while players like Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd are as dangerous on the attack as anyone in the world.

Meanwhile, Ellis has some tough choices to make in the midfield, with Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis all capable of making huge plays.

The biggest question mark comes on defense, with centre-back Becky Sauerbrunn and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher at fault for Spain's goal in the previous match—although it was the first the U.S. conceded in the tournament. 

Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has some doubts about the team's ability to keep out France:

Joe Prince-Wright @JPW_NBCSports

Hope Solo asked if she's now more confident than before the Spain game that USA can beat France on Friday: "No. France attack in numbers. Once again it will be quite a challenge for the US defense and the goalkeeper." #USWNT #FIFAWWC

Amandine Henry showed her finishing ability in the clutch in the round of 16 against Brazil:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

AMANDINE HENRY! 2-1 FRANCE! 🇫🇷 Big players come through in big moments, and France's captain just gave the hosts the lead in extra time. #FIFAWWC https://t.co/EzYzdSnsrO

The French have scoring options in Eugenie Le Sommer and Valerie Gauvin up front, while defender Wendie Renard is a threat at set pieces. These players can put a lot of pressure on the United States defense, just like in the January friendly when France earned a 3-1 victory.

Playing in front of their home fans will give France a bigger boost on Friday too.

However, the difference could come down to the United States' past success. Many of the players on the pitch have already won the World Cup, with some also winning Olympic gold medals.

The experience and added confidence could be just enough to put Team USA over the top.

Prediction: United States 2, France 1