CHICAGO - The FIFA Women’s World Cup only happens once every four years, and whether you’re a soccer devotee or someone who just tunes in when the Cup comes around, you won’t want to miss the action. Never fear: We’ve got you covered.
Every day through the Final on August 20, FOX Digital will be breaking down the details on all the can’t-miss matches, players to watch and other essential details. What’s next: It’s do or die for the U.S. team.
Watch the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup only on FOX and FS1. Scroll down to "soccer spoilers" for match updates.
Women’s World Cup matches on August 6, 2023
Day 18 of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup features two matches, including one that started while it was still the day 17 in the U.S. Time zones are weird!.
- Netherlands (group E winner) vs. South Africa, 10 p.m. on August 5, FOX (Watch full replay on FOX Sports)
- Sweden (group G winner) vs. United States, 5 a.m., FOX (Watch full replay on FOX Sports)
For details on the results of concluded matches, scroll down to the ‘Soccer spoilers’ section.
Match spotlight: U.S. vs. Sweden
"Yes, the performance was crap," USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said of his team’s match against Portugal – a scoreless draw that allowed the most dominant team in women’s soccer to sneak into the round of 16, despite a thankless group stage. "We all know that. We have to own it, we have to take accountability, and we have to focus for our next game. Let's make sure we don't have the same performance again."
Kind of a bummer note to start on, huh? But it’s the right note, all the same – now that the Women’s World Cup has left the group stage behind, there’s no room for error. The U.S. has to win. (Nope, no ties either, as they’re not allowed in the knockout stage – scroll down for more on that.) If they don’t, it doesn’t just mean the end of the quest for a historic three-peat. It’ll be the worst showing the U.S. women have had in World Cup history.
So it’s a do-or-die, put-up-or-shut-up, go-big-or-go-home situation for Lindsey Horan, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman and company. (Rose Lavelle, a hero of the 2019 World Cup, will be sitting out with two yellow cards.) And Sweden, who are (per FOX Sports) "arguably the best team never to win a major tournament," will put up a heck of a fight.
"A case could be made that Sweden is the USWNT's biggest rival," writes FOX Sports’ Doug McIntyre of the matchup. After all, familiarity breeds contempt. Somehow this will be the sixth consecutive World Cup at which the Swedes and Americans have met."
So the would-be three-peaters can’t expect a cakewalk, here. And the team knows it. "Every time we play them it is a massive battle," USA captain Lindsey Horan said to reporters of the team’s history. And this is a team that’s never better than when it’s prepared to do battle.
Brew some strong coffee, cross your fingers, and prepare for a heck of a show.
Players to watch for this weekend
United States: Sophia Smith, forward
This 23-year-old superstar is likely to become an even bigger name after her first Cup appearance – something made clear by her two goals in Team USA’s opening match of the tournament. Smith led the Portland Thorns to a 2022 championship, and was named MVP of the National Women’s Soccer League. FIFA calls her "one of the best and most complete forwards on the planet," while FOX Sports put it this way: "She is sensational with the ball at her feet and a superior finisher. This is her first World Cup, and she is primed for a breakout on the global stage."
Also of note: Co-captain Lindsey Horan, who has also racked up two goals in the tournament – including her memorable, don’t-get-mad-get-even shot against the Netherlands.
Sweden: Stina Blackstenius, striker
"I always say that one of my best defenders is our center forward," FIFA quotes coach Peter Gerhardsson as saying of this versatile Arsenal star. The player soccer’s governing body calls "the most potent attacker in Sweden’s senior side" has dealt with some injuries of late, but "iif she can arrive at the Women’s World Cup fit and firing, Sweden’s opponents are all but certain to suffer the consequences."
Also of note: Amanda Ilestedt’s three goals of the tournament so far are nothing to sniff at, that’s for sure.
Netherlands: Lieke Martens, forward
Called "one of the most exciting attacking players of her generation" by FIFA, this former UEFA Player of the Year isn’t her team’s only source of firepower, but she’s formidable – and not just as a goal-scorer. Now playing in her third WWC, FIFA praises the Paris Saint-Germain star’s "exceptional ability to pass her way out of tight spaces," adding that her "pinpoint accuracy from long range and excellent reading of the game pulls opposition defenses out of shape, allowing the 30-year-old to create opportunities for her team-mates in the penalty area."
Also of note: Jill Roord, whose three goals in the tournament thus far put her in the mix for the Golden Boot.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 18: Hildah Magaia of South Africa poses for a portrait during the official FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 portrait session on July 18, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Katelyn Mulc
South Africa: Hildah Magaia, forward
The player called "Breadwinner" after racking up two goals to guarantee South Africa’s first-ever WAFCON championship, Magaia also shot home a goal in Banyana Banyana’s tournament opener against the formidable Swedish side. While Sweden eventually struck back, finishing the match 2-1, South Africa’s strong showing speaks well of the team’s future – especially where their fiery forward is concerned. She also notched a goal in South Africa’s match against Italy.
Also of note: Thembi Kgatlana, who like Magaia, has two goals under her belt so far in this tournament – good enough to put her in the running for the Golden Boot.
What teams are in the next round of the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
Switzerland (won group A)
Australia (won group B)
Japan (won group C)
England (won group D)
The Netherlands (won group E)
France (won group F)
Sweden (won group G)
What teams have been eliminated from the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
New Zealand (first host nation eliminated in WWC history)
Canada (first reigning Olympic Champion to not advance to the knockout stage in the following Women's World Cup)
Where is the 2023 Women’s World Cup taking place?
The eyes (and cameras) of the world have turned toward host countries Australia and New Zealand.
In what time zone is the Women’s World Cup taking place?
Well, there's more than one time zone involved, as the battles for the Cup will take place in 10 stadiums in two countries. But suffice it to say that you're looking at times that are anywhere from 12 hours (for matches in Perth, Australia) to 16 hours (all New Zealand-based matches) ahead of EST.
That means some matches – like Nigeria vs. Canada, the first match of day two (July 21) – will be played early in the day locally but air on what's technically the evening before in the U.S. (in this case, July 20). Who said there's no such thing as time travel?
Where can you stream the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
We’re living in the future, baby! All matches will be live-streamed on FOXSports.com and via the FOX Sports app, and full replays will also be available. So if you’re not into watching soccer at 3 a.m., you’re covered!
How can I watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup on live TV?
The FIFA Women’s World Cup will air on FOX and FS1. The complete schedule awaits your perusal at FOXSports.com. In addition to all FIFA Women’s World Cup matches, head to your preferred FOX platform for game highlights, replays, stats, player stories, analysis and more.
How does the knockout phase work in the Women’s World Cup?
Good question! It’s a lot simpler than the knockout phase. From here on out, every match is a "get it done or go home" situation – a loss means it’s the end of the line.
But what does that mean in a sport that often ends in a tie, and in a tournament that’s seen plenty of them? It still means every showdown is a must-win – it’s just that the matches will last longer. Here’s the exact rule, per FIFA:
"In the knockout stages, if a match is level at the end of normal playing time, extra time shall be played. Extra time shall consist of two 15-minute periods, with an interval not exceeding five minutes before the first period of extra time begins and a short drinks break (interval) not exceeding one minute at half-time. The players shall remain on the pitch during both of these intervals.
"If the score is still level at the end of extra time, kicks from the penalty mark shall be taken to determine the winner, in accordance with the procedure specified in the Laws of the Game."
In short, play continues for up to another 30 minutes, and if it’s still tied at the end of that half-hour, it’s time for penalty-kick-a-palooza.
Netherlands vs. South Africa: Netherlands has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup after a 2-0 win over South Africa. Jill Roord and Lineth Beerensteyn scored at the Sydney Football Stadium to secure the 2019 runners-up a place in the last eight. But the South African attack troubled the Dutch defense at times, forcing goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar into a string of saves to keep Thembi Kgatlana at bay. Netherlands lost to the United States in the World Cup final four years ago and look like contenders again after finishing above the Americans in Group E. The Dutch will next play Spain at Wellington on Friday for a place in the semifinals.
Sweden vs. United States: Lina Hurtig’s converted her penalty and Sweden knocked the United States out of the World Cup 5-4 on penalties after a scoreless draw at the Women’s World Cup. U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher tried to argue that she saved Hurtig’s attempt, but it was ruled over the line. The stadium played Abba’s "Dancing Queen" in the stadium as the Swedes celebrated. The United States was trying to win an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title. Instead, the Americans were eliminated in the Round of 16 for the first time ever. The team’s worst finish had been third place, three times. It was the first match at this World Cup to go to extra time.
Watch the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup only on FOX and FS1.