Women's World Cup 2019: What to know about semifinalists as USA, England, Sweden and Netherlands eye the title
The field is down to four in France -- what are the strengths and weaknesses of each squad?
Just four teams remain at the 2019 Women's World Cup after the quarterfinals finished up over the weekend. The United States, the reigning champion and No. 1 ranked team in the world, highlights the the semifinal field, and the Americans will face England on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV (Try for free). In the other semifinal, it's the surprising Netherlands taking on a confident Sweden side on Wednesday. Gone are cup favorites France and Germany, and the winner of USA-England will be the favorite in Sunday's final. But what should you know about all four remaining teams?
Here's a look at the their World Cup history, and things to know about each semifinalist:
The United States is exactly where it expected to be -- in the last four with a great chance to go to the final. Having just passed the toughest test to date against host France, here comes another big one against England. With a mixture of lineups but the constant 4-3-3 formation, the U.S. is 5-0-0 in the cup and hasn't even trailed. The U.S. has gotten off to fast starts, and in the knockout stage it handled adversity in matches against both Spain in France, yet it never felt even close to slipping away.
World Cup appearances: Eight
Semifinal appearances: Eight
Best finish: Champions (1991, 1999, 2015)
Last World Cup: Champions
Strengths: Aside from being the most talented team remaining and having the pedigree of a champ, this team's main strength is starting fast. In every World Cup game at this edition, the U.S. has scored by the 12th minute. Those quick starts have allowed this team to play with comfort and confidence, and having never trailed means this team really hasn't been in desperation mode. Megan Rapinoe has talked a bit this tournament about how if the U.S. is down 2-0 in the 80th minute, the team still feels like it is going to win the game. That's confidence you just don't find anywhere else.
Weaknesses: Not a lot here, but if anything perhaps it is in goal. Alyssa Naeher hasn't had a whole lot to do at this cup, but she did have a bad moment against Spain that has raised some doubts. The lone "weakness" on a team that really doesn't have any big concerns, if she's sturdy and confident, there's no beating this U.S. team.
Outlook: It's win or failure, plain and simple. England isat the World Cup, so winning this one would make the U.S. clear favorites. It's going to be a physical game of few goals, but based on recent form, the U.S. is the favorite and rightfully showed.
England isn't surprised to be here. Back in the semifinals after making it in 2015, the Lionesses hope this time around, things go better. With the scoring ability of Ellen White and the defense of Lucy Bronze, this is the best squad England has ever had. In the golden age of the women's team, they are so close they can taste it. But to get through, they are going to have to beat the queens of the sport in the USWNT, which is no easy task The U.S. hasn't lost a World Cup game in eight years.
World Cup appearances: Five
Semifinal appearances: One
Best finish: Third place (2015)
Last World Cup: Third place
Strengths: This team plays a really attractive style of soccer. There is so much cohesion. Players make short passes that are crisp and they do a wonderful job of playing teammates into the box to create fantastic scoring chances. At times in the group stage, this team has had a chance to put games away but didn't, yet in the knockout stage England has gone for the kill and gotten it. Beaming with confidence and with an extra day's rest, this team has a real shot against the United States.
Weaknesses: Because of the contribution this team gets in attack from defenders, there are times where players get caught too far forward, making them susceptible to the counter. But what's been a bigger weakness at times is not holding shape defensively. In the opener against Scotland, we saw too many players go after whoever had the ball, resulting in the right back or left back being too tucked in. That allowed Scotland to score, but England has done better with it as of late.
Outlook: Like the U.S., it's win or bust. This may be the best chance England will have in a long time to capture the World Cup, and they'll have a hand on the trophy if they can win here. Expect them to not go forward too much in numbers, rather opting for a chess game against the Americans to try and contain their attack.
The Dutch are on a mission. They surprised many by winning Euro 2017 and now they'll face Sweden again after beating them in the quarterfinals of that tournament. This team wasn't looked at as a real contender entering the cup due to the lack of form in qualifying, but the Dutch certainly been impressive by winning all of their games so far. Now potentially 90 minutes from their second straight major final, the orange machine is well oiled and read to reach new distances.
World Cup appearances: Two
Semifinal appearances: One (2019)
Best finish: TBD (2019)
Last World Cup: Round of 16 (2015)
Strengths: The main strengths are in attack. When you've got three of the four top scorers in history on your squad, you are in great shape. Lieke Martens has had a strong tournament, but striker Vivianne Miedema is the country's all-time leading scorer with 61 goals, and she's just 22 years of age. This team does it in style, and it does it well. Just look at how Martens scored against Japan in the last round:
Weaknesses: They conceded in three straight games before a shutout against Italy in the quarters. Sometimes it is due to playing too cautiously on defense, and other times the team will double team and leave space open in the middle. They have to be more alert there, especially against Sweden.
Outlook: Eight straight wins overall and still beaming with confidence after winning Euro, their form in this tournament tells them that they can keep it going and win it. Having gotten the better of Sweden before, they'll know they can make the final but will be wary of what Sweden brings to the table, especially defensively. If they lose, it would be an amazing and memorable run, but they aren't content with just making the semifinals.
World Cup appearances: Eight
Semifinal appearances: Four
Best finish: Runners-up (2003)
Last World Cup: Round of 16 (2015)
Strengths: Their teamwork. This team passes the ball so well, defends in numbers and stays organized. Those have long been the traits that produce such consistency. The Swedes won't blow you out of the water with supreme skill or flashy play, but they are just consistently strong. They've suffered defeat already to the United States which has helped correct some flaws in defense, and knocking off Germany in the quarterfinal has them believing this is the year they win the World Cup for the first time.
Weaknesses: There is a trend of conceding early. In two of the last three games, they've conceded in the opening minutes It just feels like from time to time it takes them a little bit to get into a game on both ends. This is do-or-die time now, so the teams that don't start fast could quickly see their dreams turn into nightmares. Sweden is going to have to try and slow the game down early on to get comfortable.
Outlook: They know they didn't play their best in the group stage, but the win over Germany was a big statement that they won't be going down easy. They'd like nothing more than another shot at the U.S. in the final, but the Dutch can be a bit much to handle. It's a strong defense in Sweden against an electric attack, and it's a game that can go either way. There is no favorite here, and while Sweden is thrilled to be in the semis, they won't settle for anything other than a spot in the final.
The Women's World Cup is currently a 24-team field
The World Cup champion joined CBS Sports Network's 'We Need To Talk'
Police are investigating the burglary of USWNT star
The monument's official debut marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. women's world title in...
Soccer star addresses the crowd in New York City following USWNT Championship Parade
The Eagles are now America's Team