The last eight of the 2023 Women’s World Cup has now been decided following another round of dramatic fixtures.
With seven Everton Women stars still vying for glory in the competition, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the round of 16 stage had shocks, controversies and, of course, goals.
So which Blues survived the first knockout stage? Let’s find out:
Netherlands sink South Africa
Katja Snoeijs will be experiencing a World Cup quarter-final this month after a dominant Netherlands eliminated South Africa.
The Blues’ forward replaced the exceptional Jill Roord in the closing moments of the game after Manchester City’s new recruit gave her side the lead as early as the ninth minute. Banyana Banyana weren’t there to simply make up the numbers though, and came close to equalising on several occasions.
But Lineth Beerensteyn doubled the lead midway through the second half following a mistake by South Africa keeper Kaylin Swart to set up a last eight encounter with Spain in Wellington Friday.
Sweden shock defending champions
Nathalie Bjorn and Hanna Bennison helped produce the shock of the tournament as reigning champions USA exited the tournament following a dramatic 5-4 shootout win for Peter Gerhardsson’s side
Bjorn completed the full game, while her club teammate was introduced in the 97th minute, but was on hand to score from the spot for her nation.
Sweden will have goalkeeper Zecira Musovic to thank for the match ended goalless after 120 minutes. The stopper produced a string of saves to keep out Vlatko Andonovsk’s side, who missed three penalties during the shootout.
The controversy was saved until the final penalty as USA keeper Alyssa Naeher appeared to have saved Lina Hurtig’s effort at the second attempt, having pushed the initial effort up before clawing it out. But after a VAR check, referee Stephanie Frappart awarded the goal to send the Swedes wild and into the last eight where will they take on Japan this Friday.
Denmark downed as Australia advance
Co-hosts Australia look to be clicking into gear following a convincing 2-0 win over Denmark.
Goals from Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso booked the Matildas place in the quarters and a date with France on Saturday.
Clare Wheeler still waits patiently to make her World Cup bow this year, while the adventure is over for Blues trio Katrine Veje, Karen Holmgaard and Nicoline Sorensen, with Veje completing every minute for her country during the tournament.