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WWC: Germany, USA Continue Quest For Third Title

Posted: Jun 26, 2015 at 1:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Footballing giants Germany and the United States continue their quest for a record third title on Friday when they meet France and China respectively in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals.

Top-ranked Germany, winners in 2003 and 2007, faces an ambitious France in the largely French-speaking city of Montreal. The French seek their first major title after finishing fourth in Germany 2011 and the 2012 Olympics.

Anja Mittag (middle) of Germany celebrating after scoring her team goal

Anja Mittag (middle) of Germany celebrating after scoring her team goal

Over in Ottawa, the United States will be up against a resilient Chinese side which is rekindling memories of its  glory days, when it reached the 1999 final but lost to the Americans in a penalty shootout. The USA also won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1991.

The Chinese failed to qualify for the 2011 tournament and the London Olympics, with its 1-0 last-16 win over Cameroon earning the players a bonus of around one million yuan ($160 000) from the national football association.

Champions Japan, the only team to have won all its matches in the tournament, moves to Edmonton where it next plays 10th-ranked Australia on Saturday, the same day that England tackles hosts Canada in Vancouver.

Germany coach Silvia Neid dismissed talks of her side being favourites after demolishing Sweden 4-1 in the last 16.

“I’m not convinced of it yet,” she said.

“France is ranked third and it won’t be easy. We know where we stand but we’re not yet a world champion.”

Germany has won two titles, finished runner-up in 1995, and has won every Women’s Euro title since 1995.

But it was shocked in the 2011 World Cup at home, when it equalled its worst-ever showing – losing 1-0 in the quarte-rfinals to eventual winners Japan.

French midfielder Jessica Houara D’Hommeaux said ‘Les Bleues’ were out to stop the “steamroller.”

“Germany is a sports machine, a steamroller,” she said. “There’s the United States and Germany and then everyone else.

“But we’re closing the gap and I really want people to talk more about France and the other teams. It’s good for women’s football.

“We’re third in FIFA’s rankings. It’s good, but we’ve won no trophies so far,” added the 27-year-old.

The United States play China after beating Colombia 2-0 in the last 16 – a costly game for the Olympic champions with key midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday suspended after collecting yellow cards.

“We’ve dealt with injuries so I feel very confident in the players we have to be able to step up and help us advance,” said US coach Jill Ellis.

China’s ‘Steel Roses’ have been gaining momentum since their opening 1-0 defeat to Canada.

“We are improving match by match,” defender Wang Shanshan said, adding that the 1999 final had inspired her to play football.

“I was in primary school, but I remember watching it very well. That was when my dream started, when China played so well to reach the World Cup final. Sun Wen was my favourite player and my hero at that time.”

Canada will hope to get the crowd behind its players again in BC Place Stadium against England, which beat them 1-0 in this year’s Cyprus Cup final, but which lost to the hosts in a pre-tournament friendly.

“It’s almost like we can see the summit,” said Canada’s English coach, John Herdman.

“It’s within our grasp. We just have to reach up there.”

Olympic bronze medallist Canada’s best finish was fourth in 2003 while England had never advanced out of the knockout rounds before.

Australia coach Alen Stajcic believes his young Matildas can match fourth-ranked Japan, which impressed in a 2-1 last-16 defeat of the Netherlands.

“Japan is the defending world champions. We know how good they are. We played them in the Asian Cup final,” he added, noting a tie Australia lost 1-0.