Women's World Cup 2019: Latest Odds, Expert Predictions, Schedule Heading Into Quarterfinals

For the U.S. women's national team (USWNT), the road to retain the World Cup must go through Paris. From the moment the draw for the World Cup was done a potential quarterfinal against France loomed large for the Americans, and the two sides will now meet in the French capital on Friday.

Having breezed through the group stage, the defending champions were severely tested by Spain in the round of 16 but secured a quarterfinal spot courtesy of two penalties from Megan Rapinoe.

France, meanwhile, needed extra time to overcome Brazil and are yet to hit top gear in the tournament. The hosts will have the backing of a partisan crowd but will need more than home advantage to overturn a record that has seen them beat the U.S. just three times in 23 meetings.

Away from USWNT and France, Sweden and Norway have been quietly impressive. The former takes on Germany on Saturday, while the latter faces England in the first quarterfinal on Thursday. Italy, one of the surprise packages of the tournament, takes on the Netherlands on Saturday.

USWNT, World Cup
United States's forward Megan Rapinoe (C) is congratulated by her teammate forward Alex Morgan (R) after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup round of sixteen football match between Spain and USA, on June 24 at the Auguste-Delaune stadium in Reims, France. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty

What the experts say

Hope Solo—Team USA goalkeeper 2000-2016

"People don't bow down to the United States like they used to," she told BBC Radio 5 Live. "They don't come in and put everyone on edge like they used to. Many teams have proved they can beat the USA. If you want to beat the USA you have to press the backline. That's where they are truly vulnerable. It's the decision-making, it's the quality of passing—and I think there are nerves back there."

Laken Litman—Sports Illustrated

"This was probably a good thing for the United States, to have a team push the defending champions before facing the host country in Paris. You don't want to head into a World Cup quarterfinal against a top-five FIFA world power having outscored your latest opponents by however many goals to zero."

Roger Gonzalez—CBS Sports

"Spain's game plan of being aggressive and physical, you can expect, will be implemented by France. It worked well for Spain and pushed a frustrated U.S. side to the limit [...] This also provides the U.S. with a great chance to review what went wrong, with it all being fixable. This may just be the wake-up call the U.S. needed."

2️⃣ PKs, 2️⃣ Goals for @mPinoe‼️ pic.twitter.com/fcQUQl9SRz

— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 24, 2019

Henry Bushnell—Yahoo Sports

Jill Ellis has come under criticism for a series of decisions against Spain, namely playing a half-fit Alex Morgan and not making any substitutions until the 85th minute. Bushnell, however, suggests the struggles against the U.S. were down to the players, rather than the coach.

"Any U.S. shortcomings on Monday—if you can even call them that—had little to do with Ellis. They had more to do with those players you know and love. The ones Ellis wouldn't dare drop. The ones whose brilliance her entire USWNT system depends on. They were the reason the Americans limped rather than cruised into the World Cup quarters.

Nancy Armour—USA Today

"The only bad thing about it is that it's happening two games too early. Either the favorites or the hosts will be going home well before the July 7 final in Lyon. Blame that on the lopsided draw, which has the teams ranked No. 1 [USWNT], No. 3 [England] and No. 4 [France] on the same side of the bracket."

Julien Laurens—ESPN

"Sweden were never mentioned amongst the favourites. It was a lot about the United States, France, Germany and England. Sweden were flying below the radar before the competition started despite reaching the 2016 Olympic final, a loss against Germany. After a good display against the U.S. women in the last group-stage match, a convincing win on Monday against Canada has confirmed their status as real dark horses of this World Cup."

Updated odds

A 3/1 favorite before the tournament, USWNT remains the bookmakers' choice to lift the World Cup at 1/1, followed by France at 5/1 and Germany at 6/1.

England and the Netherlands are 8/1 and 10/1, respectively, while Sweden is a 20/1 outsider.

Quarter-finals schedule (All times ET)

Thursday, June 27

  • Norway vs England—3 p.m. Fox

Friday, June 28

  • France vs U.S.A.—3 p.m. Fox

Saturday, June 29

  • Italy vs Netherlands—9 a.m. FS1
  • Germany vs Sweden—12:30 p.m. FS1