With Spain and Sweden having now confirmed their participation in the semifinals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the final two teams competing in that round of the tournament will be decided on Saturday – and Australia will look to defeat France on home soil in order to progress.
The first day of quarterfinal action saw Spain edge past the Netherlands after Salma Paralluelo bagged a stunning winner in extra time, while Sweden proved to be utterly dominant against a dismal Japanese outfit.
As for Australia, their campaign commenced with a slender win over the Republic of Ireland, with the Girls in Green defeated on their Women’s World Cup debut as Steph Catley fired home from the penalty spot. Tony Gustavsson’s side lost against Nigeria next time out though, with the Super Falcons producing a spirited second-half performance to clinch a crucial three points in their own bid for survival. A four-goal thrashing of Canada in the final group stage game was enough for the Matildas, who progressed from Group B as the table-topping side.
Drawn against Denmark in the round-of-sixteen, the co-hosts cruised to a comfortable victory – with Hayley Raso sealing the deal after Caitlin Foord’s opener on the half-hour mark. The Matildas were buoyed by the return of Sam Kerr in that match, with the Chelsea forward making a short cameo appearance after missing the group stage fixtures through an injury.
France’s tournament hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing either. A goalless draw against Jamaica in their opening match was far from the perfect start, though les Bleues swiftly followed that with a 2-1 win against Brazil. A nine-goal thriller against Panama saw France emerge as 6-3 winners, cementing their progression as the winners of Group F.
Last time out, they dealt a crushing blow to Morocco’s hopes of pulling off a shock result – as they forced the Atlas Lionesses to succumb to a four-goal defeat, with Eugénie Le Sommer and Kadidiatou Diani stealing the show.
Sam Kerr is likely to be named in the starting lineup for the first time in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Maëlle Lakrar should have returned to full fitness for this clash, but is likely to be left on the bench – with Hervé Renard set to retain Elise De Almeida at the heart of the French backline.
AUS: Arnold; Carpenter, Hunt, Kennedy, Catley; Raso, Gorry, Cooney-Cross, Foord; Kerr, Fowler
FRA: Peyraud-Magnin; Perisset, Renard, De Almeida, Karchaoui; Dali, Geyoro, Toletti, Bacha; Le Sommer; Diani