Photo Credit: Mackenzie Sweetnam – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
The two remaining quarter-finals at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 take place tonight, with France, Australia, England and Colombia battling it out for the right to join Spain and Sweden in the final four.
Co-hosts Australia kick off proceedings when they face France in Brisbane. After a excellent performance in their round of 16 victory over Denmark earlier in the week, Head Coach Tony Gustavsson is looking forward to another big match on the biggest stage.
“I feel they (the team) are ready. You look at what they’ve done over the last couple of days and last couple of weeks, all the preparation that we’ve done. Being ready doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy – a quarter-final in a World Cup is never easy.
“I’ve had the privilege of being involved in five quarter-finals before this – three Olympics and two World Cups – so this is six in a row now and you get unhealthily addicted to these type of games,” he said.
Their opponents France started the tournament relatively slowly but have been building momentum ever since, reaching the quarter-finals with a 4-0 victory over Morocco in their first knockout tie.
Forward Eugenie Le Sommer was confident that her side will be able to deal with any pressure that comes with facing the co-hosts on their home soil.
“Well four years ago we were in France, so it was different. Everyone was talking about it, it’s more difficult to stay within our bubble, so I understand what it means to play a quarter-final in our own country against another.
“Anything can happen, playing with that pressure. Knowing the whole stadium will be against us is also motivation, it’s something that pushes us forward,” she explained.
In the other evening’s quarter-final, European champions England face the last remaining South American side in the competition, Colombia in Sydney.
Following a nail-biting penalty shoot-out victory over Nigeria in the round of 16 and with star player Lauren James suspended, Head Coach Sarina Wiegman was keen to point out the strength of her squad and the need to adapt when changes are required.
“We have a squad of 23 and we’ve had to face losing a player before. She came back and now we’re missing another player and we know how we feel in that position. It’s a team effort and we support each other and we fill in the places when they become free,” Wiegman said.
Her Colombian counterpart Nelson Abadía has seen his side impress on their journey to the last eight. The 1-0 scoreline against Jamaica masked the South Americans dominance and with one of the highest ranked sides up next, the Head Coach feels his side is well placed in their preparations ahead of the tie.
“To know all the history that England brings to football is important, but for me it’s important to perform on the pitch. We have eleven players against eleven players, all of them important, all regular players and the optimism we have is the same we’ve had for every much.
“We know the conditions, we know the abilities, we know what our team has and how we can face this match. We have analysed England quite a lot – we know who they are and what they have. We have faced European teams before, we know how to face them and this has given us a great possibility to be victorious,” he said.
The winner of this evening’s two matches will face one another in Sydney on Wednesday evening, with a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on the line.
FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
Australia v France
England v Colombia