So that really are the last four:
18.00: Brazil – Sweden
21.00: Canada – Germany
(Times CET as always here)
FIFA ranking no 1,3,5 all out in the quarters. All against lower ranked opponents. We havent been used to such an anti-establishment revolt in womens football. And would you believe it. Germany the only top5 team remaining in the last 4. That makes the competition really wide open.
And we must reshuffle our predictions after the USA are out. (We picked them as 60% favorites in our preview here. And pretty much the same statements are still very valid).
We had Brazil expected to do better than at the WC in Canada. Because of the home advantage as second reason. But more because more players are playing in demanding league competitions now. But the trend isnt their friend at the moment. Marta and Formiga are still very much key figures and both beyond 30 and thus clearly with more problems with the tight schedule. And some of the players still are not so used to consistently playing in the red zone. And probably have never met such public exposure. But the support of the home crowd in the stadium can make you forget a lot of pain.
We had Sweden always as very capable individuals with possibly one of the worst tactical managements (after France?). They could also have done much better against the USA football-wise (their counter attacks far too cautious and not with the right players in the right places mostly). Sweden of course have a match won that might have all sorts of additional aftereffects. A confidence boost is certain. But how do they channel it? From what we know about them not at all. Every player will make her own story from it. So it wont change much regarding their performance.
We have expected Canada to do well with Janine Beckie and Jessie Fleming. And Canadas boost of self confidence is even greater than for the Swedes. Now having France eliminated. But they are not so used to handle it. The older players have the experience. But it can backfire. Surely they dont expect to shoot Germany out of the stadium now. But if things are not going according to plan it would be more frustrating than 2 weeks ago. Moreover they have chosen not to go the far easier way playing China in the quarters and France in the semis which might as we know now have already meant a medal. They have already climbed massive moutains and still arent there yet. It remains to see how that takes effect.
Germanys players are at least having a realistic view of themselves. With the coach often critisized for a lack of that. At least they dug themselves out of a big hole by fighting down China without having played any quality football. That makes them an unusual and difficult opponent despite this particular selection of German players might be not quite the talented individually regarding their football skills compared to the others of the four remaining. But certainly they are the best regarding their physical training.
We would give all four remaining contenders roughly the same chances now with luck the decisive factor and managing the fatigue. The teams who had clearly the best fire power (namely USA and France) couldnt make their advantage count so neither of these are anywhere close. However one has to be Olympic Champion and the “experts” probably will afterwards try to explain with all sorts of reasons based on the football they played.