- Dutch and Italian title credentials tested in Valenciennes
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The FIFA Women's World Cup™ quarter-finals come to a close on Saturday with two very different all-European ties.
One is between two of women’s football’s traditional powerhouses as Germany and Sweden – who contested the 2003 Final – reprise the tournament's second-most played fixture. But first there is a meeting between two rising powers, as Italy – the surprise package of France 2019 – take on the continent’s reigning champions.
Italy-Netherlands: Quarter-final, Valenciennes, 29 June, 15:00
Team Reporter analysis
Sonja Nikcevic (ITA)
Italy go into their first quarter-final in 28 years well aware of how much they have impacted the entire nation back home. While they are seen as the surprise of the tournament and are the lowest-ranked team remaining, the team’s confidence has grown from match to match. The win against China PR also proved that they can cope with the pressure of knockout football. But Italy now face their greatest challenge against their first European opponents - the champions of the continent no less - and will need all of Milena Bertolini’s tactical nous to cause another upset.
Emma Coolen (NED)
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always pretty but the Netherlands got the win they needed against Japan and showed their never-say-die spirit to edge out technically-superior opponents. Now, the Oranjeleeuwinnen look to take another major step forward by securing a historic first-ever semi-final place. But they know it won't be easy. Japan exposed their areas of vulnerability and Italy's players and staff are sure to have watched that game with special interest.
Germany-Sweden: Quarter-final, Valenciennes, 29 June, 18:30
Team Reporter analysis
Steffen Potter (GER)
Things have been going well for Germany so far after topping Group B without conceding and a comfortable Round of 16 win over Nigeria. Germany have a great record against Sweden but players and staff have wisely stated that this historical record will be of no consequence when the whistle is blown on Saturday. The big question is over Dzsenifer Marozsan and if she will return to action against the Scandinavians. The answer to that is likely to heavily influence the Germans' formation and game plan.
Alexandra Johnson (SWE)
Sweden haven't been able to beat Germany in 24 years, last defeating them in the 1995 Women’s World Cup, but this time it feels different. The Germans haven’t yet reached the level of performance we have come to expect from them while Sweden are full of confidence after beating Canada. They believe that the time to beat the Germans has finally arrived. A strong defence and quick counter-attacks will be the key as will taking any chances that come their way. The Swedes have nothing to lose and winning over Germany would not only take them to Lyon but rewrite the history books.
Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.