Saturday 22nd June 2019

Event of the Day: Norway versus Australia

Our event of the day is the Women’s World Cup Round of 16 fixture between Norway and Australia at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, France. Norway are a hungry, disciplined side eager to make a deep run in this tournament. Australia are a side led by the generational talent of Sam Kerr. This is a match that you won’t want to miss. Norway have made a strong statement at this World Cup. They came to France having won the Algarve Cup in March and immediately got down to business, beating Nigeria 3-0 in their opening group match. While they fell to hosts France 2-1 in the next match, their progression to the next round was never in doubt and they assured that with a 2-1 win over South Korea. 'The Grasshoppers’ of Norway have focused on the defensive and attacking thirds of the pitch during this World Cup. An ailing defence has meant that they have moved Maren Mjelde and Kristine Minde from their traditional midfield roles to the back four. This has certainly helped keeping the numbers of goals conceded to a minimum. In the attacking third, they have typically started Isabell Herlovsen and Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland but the most important attacking piece has been Caroline Graham Hansen. Hansen plays best as a second or third striker with the freedom to move across the field. Hansen had six goals in qualifying for the World Cup and scored the opening goal against South Korea during the group stage.

However, overall, Norway is a strong, disciplined side that is eager to go far in this tournament. Meanwhile, Australia have a different experience in the tournament so far. They lost 2-1 to Italy in their first match before coming back from 2-0 down to beat Brazil 3-2 thanks to an own goal and the intervention of VAR. They secured their place in the last 16 with a 4-1 win over Jamaica, finishing second in Group C behind Italy. 'The Matildas’ of Australia have not lived up to the dark horse contender label that was assigned to them prior to the tournament. Their defence especially has been particularly underwhelming and this has cost them in the group stage. However, there is one player who almost single-handedly assured that Australia got to where they are today - Sam Kerr. Kerr may be the best player in the world right now. At only 25, she is already the all-time top scorer in the NWSL and is Australia’s fourth-highest scorer at international level. She came to the World Cup as the back-to-back Golden Boot winner in both the NWSL and the Australian W-League. She already has 5 goals in the World Cup, scoring all four in their win over Jamaica. If anyone can lead Australia to a win over Norway, it’s Sam Kerr. This is a clash of teams with vastly different playing styles with some of the best talent in women’s soccer and is a match you will not want to miss.

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Super Rugby playoffs. In the quarterfinals, the Jaguares host the Chiefs at Estadio José Amalfitani in Buenos Aires. The Jaguares are one of the newest teams in Super Rugby and finished a fantastic season in second place. They will face the Chiefs, who finished in 7th. The last time a team from outside Australia and New Zealand won it all was in 2010 and the Jaguares will be eager to make a deep run into the playoffs in search of breaking that trend. This is sure to be an exciting match. In the Cricket World Cup, New Zealand face the West Indies at Old Trafford. New Zealand have been one of the most dominant teams in this tournament and are one of only two undefeated team left in the World Cup, along with India. Meanwhile, the West Indies are 1-3 and struggling to find their rhythm. Be sure you don’t miss this match. The European Games continue in Belarus. The Women’s PGA Championship continues at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. On the WTA Tour, the Mallorca Open continues at the Santa Ponsa Tennis Academy in Mallorca. In the WNBA, the Las Vegas Aces host the Dallas Wings at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In the MLB, the Washington Nationals host the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park for the second game of their three-game series.

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!


Photos by FIFA Women’s World Cup


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