The 2023 Women’s World Cup quarterfinals get underway with two mouthwatering matches on Friday.
First up, it’s a clash between European heavyweights Spain and the Netherlands, before Japan takes on Sweden for a place in the semifinals.
How to watch
In the US, matches will air on your local Fox channel. You can also stream matches by signing in with your TV provider at foxsports.com or on the Fox Sports app. Telemundo and Peacock are providing Spanish-language coverage.
Seven Network and Optus Sport are broadcasting matches in Australia and the BBC and ITV have the rights in the United Kingdom.
A full breakdown of media rights holders in each country is available on the FIFA website.
Netherlands vs. Spain
A beaten finalist in 2019, the Netherlands will likely be feeling very confident of going one better this year after an impressive World Cup campaign so far.
The Oranje is unbeaten in Australia and New Zealand and has conceded just one goal during the tournament, coming in the 1-1 group stage draw against the United States – also the only game it has failed to win.
The talents of Jill Roord, Lieke Martens and Daniëlle van de Donk are enough to strike fear into the heart of any national team, while forward Lineth Beerensteyn will be buoyed after scoring her first goal of the tournament against South Africa.
Spain has both dazzled and disappointed its fans this tournament, racking up high-scoring wins over Zambia, Costa Rica and then Switzerland in the last-16.
However, the team’s low point came in a 4-0 demolition against Japan in the final group stage match, a game that laid bare La Roja’s weaknesses.
Spain will likely chalk it up to a off day, while others will point to the sobering defeat as proof the team isn’t yet up to level of the true title contenders Down Under.
Japan vs. Sweden
Japan has arguably been the standout performer of this World Cup so far. Alongside Sweden’s dramatic, penalty shootout elimination of the US, Japan’s huge victory over Spain was perhaps the most eye-catching win of the tournament.
The team followed up that win with another hugely impressive victory in the last-16, beating one-time champion Norway 3-1 with a dominant performance.
Clinical forward Hinata Miyazawa, currently playing in Japan’s domestic league, has been the revelation of the tournament and currently leads the Golden Boot race with five goals in four matches.
In the last-16, Sweden did what no team had been able to do since Japan in the 2011 World Cup final: beat the United States.
If you can beat the two-time reigning champion, you can beat anyone, and Sweden will now rightly be feeling confident it can go all the way and win a first Women’s World Cup title.
This talented group has regularly felt the pressure of being labeled the country’s ‘Golden Generation’ and came so close to living up to that moniker two years ago, losing to Canada in the gold medal match at the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games.
Can the three-time World Cup runner-up now get over the final hurdle?