Women's World Cup: Predictions for first two quarter-finals
Toni Duggan of England Women

Women’s World Cup: Predictions for first two quarter-finals

We’ve reached the quarter-finals stage with our Women’s World Cup 2019 predictions and are eyeing a 13/2 double from the first two fascinating fixtures in this round.

There has already been plenty of thrills and spills in France and the excitement only looks set to build at the business end of the tournament.

England to draw with Norway @ 12/5

The Lionesses edged out Norway in the last 16 four years ago but have been hampered by fitness doubts over captain Steph Houghton and fellow central defender Millie Bright going into this rematch.

Additionally, the Scandinavians have been in decent form at this tournament, beating Nigeria and South Korea during the group stage, either side of a narrow loss to France, before edging out Australia on penalties.

Norway are 12th in the world rankings, nine places below the Lionesses, and must compete without Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg due to personal reasons.

However, Phil Neville is still wary of his next opponents, stating: “I think they tick every box. They’ve probably been the surprise team of the tournament.

“They’ve got a spirit, a togetherness, a tactical system that’s really difficult to play against, and they look like they’ve got a cause.

“Maybe Hegerberg not coming has given them a cause to say, ‘we’re going to show the world we can win without the best player in the world.’

“We’re going to probably have to jump up 10 to 15 per cent in our performance levels to be successful in this game.”

Everything points towards a tight tussle in Le Havre that could go all the way.

USA to beat France @ 6/5

The hosts started out in a blaze of glory by thrashing South Korea 4-0, but haven’t been as convincing since that opening-night victory.

They needed help from penalty decisions to see off Norway and Nigeria, before only scrambling past Brazil in extra-time.

Defending champions USA were clinical in their pool, scoring 18 goals in three straight wins, while conceding none.

A couple of Megan Rapinoe spot-kicks were needed to get past Spain 2-1 but that looked a high-quality contest against stiff opposition.

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