2023 World Cup quarter-finals preview: All 8 countries and how they reached this stage

Sam Kerr and Emily Van Egmond of Australia celebrate at the World Cup
Sam Kerr and Emily Van-Egmond of Australia celebrate the team’s 2-0 victory following the FIFA Women's World Cup Round of 16 match vs Denmark (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The World Cup quarter-finals have come around fast and eight teams are ready to fight for their place in the final four. Let’s take a look at the upcoming fixtures and how each country has fared in the tournament so far.

Spain vs Netherlands

Finishing second in Group C, Spain enjoyed a relatively comfortable route to the quarter-finals. Despite suffering a heavy defeat to Japan, Jorge Vilda’s side finished three points clear of Zambia to progress from the group stage. Cruising through the round of 16 with a 5-1 victory over Switzerland, the Spanish side will now face the Netherlands as they look to continue their World Cup journey. 

Finishing top of Group E, the Netherlands entered the knockouts having collected seven of a possible nine points. Enjoying a 2-0 victory over South Africa, Andries Jonker’s side comfortably booked their spot in the final eight. 

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The two sides last met in an international friendly back in 2021. Spain pulled off a slender 1-0 victory with Patri Guijarro scoring the winner. With only three places separating the two sides in the world rankings, the match could prove an incredibly close affair.

Japan vs Sweden

With Japan arguably the front-runners in the competition, Futoshi Ikeda’s side has enjoyed a perfect start to their campaign. Cruising past Zambia, Spain and Costa Rica to reach the knockouts, Japan collected all nine points on offer to top Group C. Breezing past Norway to reach the final eight, the former champions will meet Olympic runners-up Sweden in their quarter-final clash.

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Coming top of Group G, Sweden got their ninth World Cup off to a fairytale start. Finishing five points clear of South Africa, Peter Gerhardsson’s team got their campaign off to a perfect start conceding just one goal throughout the group stage. A nervy penalty shootout saw Sweden progress to the final eight, knocking out the current world champions USA. The two sides met back in 2021 at the Olympic quarter-finals with Gerhardsson’s side progressing following a convincing 3-1 win.

England vs Colombia

Collecting all nine points on offer, England topped Group D, finishing three points clear of Denmark. Despite relatively unconvincing performances against Haiti and the Danes, Sarina Wiegman’s side conceded just one goal throughout their opening three matches. A shaky and poor performance against Nigeria almost saw the end of the Lionesses’ tournament, however, an impressive display in the penalty shootout saw the European champions through into the final eight.

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Coming top of Group H, Colombia surprised many with their organised and fluid style of play which saw the South American team finish above former champions Germany. Taking six of a possible nine points from the group stage, Colombia faced a difficult meeting with Jamaica in the round of 16. Despite the challenge, Nelson Abadia’s side managed to secure a 1-0 win to see them through to the quarter-finals. With more than 20 spots separating the two sides, can Colombia pull off one of the shocks of the tournament to see them through to the last four?

Australia vs France

Topping Group B, Australia secured their spot in the round of 16 following wins over Canada and Ireland. Despite a disappointing defeat to Nigeria, the Matildas collected six of a possible nine points. A convincing win over Denmark in their first knockout game put the co-hosts on course for a tough encounter with France in the quarter-finals. 

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Securing seven of the nine points on offer, France enjoyed a comfortable start to their World Cup campaign. Wins over Brazil and Panama alongside a draw against Jamaica saw Herve Renard’s side secure progression to the knockouts as winners of Group F. A dominant display against Morocco saw the French easily cruise into the final eight. The World Cup quarter-finals however will provide another tough challenge as a meeting with the Matildas awaits.

Just five spots separate the two sides in the FIFA world rankings. With such evenly balanced teams, Saturday’s quarter-final could be one of the closest we have seen so far. The two teams met back in July, with Manchester City’s Mary Fowler scoring the only goal of the game. 

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