Credits By: Britannica
The expanded 32-team format at the Women’s World Cup has brought surprising results, showcasing the tournament’s increased competitiveness. Heavyweight teams such as Germany, Canada, Brazil, and China have been knocked out, while underdogs like Morocco and Jamaica have made historic advancements.
Japan and Norway, two teams with contrasting journeys, demonstrated their resilience in the group stage. While Japan cruised through their group with three clean sheet victories, Norway faced an initial setback with a loss to co-hosts New Zealand. However, they rebounded impressively, with coach Hege Riise expressing her team’s growing confidence.
Norway’s coach highlighted the challenging nature of their group, where they faced a strong home team in their opening match. Despite the early setback, their improvement in subsequent rounds and a convincing 6-0 victory against the Philippines restored their momentum.
Japan’s coach, Futoshi Ikeda, praised his team’s collective effort, emphasizing their exceptional teamwork and unity. Their 4-0 victory against Spain in the final group fixture solidified their position as group leaders.
For Spain, a heavy defeat against Japan served as a learning experience. Coach Jorge Vilda acknowledged the impact of such failures on a team’s development and growth, prompting them to analyze areas of improvement. Despite doubts surrounding their ability to compete with top-tier teams, Spain advanced to the last 16 and aims to build on their past performance in the knockout phase.
Switzerland, another team in the last 16, won their group by scoring two goals and conceding none. With their eyes on an elusive knockout tie victory, they optimistically approach their match against Spain. Coach Inka Grings stresses the importance of assertiveness in attack, as they face a solid and compact Spanish side.
As the Women’s World Cup unfolds, the expanded format has undoubtedly brought more excitement and unpredictability to the tournament. The emergence of underdogs, the resilience of established teams, and the learning opportunities from defeats collectively contribute to the dynamic and thrilling spectacle of the Women’s World Cup.