The Women’s World Cup quarterfinal field includes an entire continent’s worth of teams and the United States women’s national team.
[ MORE: Italy tops China ]
Before we get to ranking the remaining eight teams, here are the dates for the quarterfinals:
Norway v. England – 3 p.m. ET Thursday
France v. United States – 3 p.m. ET Friday
Italy v. Netherlands – 9 a.m. ET Saturday
Germany v. Sweden – 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday
8. Norway — Can you imagine Norway getting to a final without the reigning Ballon d’Or winner?
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 10
Pre-World Cup ranking: 12
7. Sweden — The attacking pieces are there for a run, but Germany is a big obstacle.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 7
Pre-World Cup ranking: 6
6. Netherlands — Bailed out by goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and the FIFA rulebook/VAR.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 4
Pre-World Cup ranking: 9
5. Italy — Has allowed two goals: One to Marta, the other to Sam Kerr.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 6
Pre-World Cup ranking: 14
4. England — Back in fourth more due to the Dutch’s problems against Japan than its straight-forward defeat of Cameroon.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 5
Pre-World Cup ranking: 4
3. Germany — If this long rest allows Dzsenifer Marozsan’s broken toe to heal a bit, look out.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 3
Pre-World Cup ranking: 3
2. France — The hosts snuck past Brazil in extra time, but at least they scored from the run of play as opposed to the No. 1 team.
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 2
Pre-World Cup ranking: 2
USWNT — Everyone’s allowed a dud, and some respect as the reigning champs. 2-1 over Spain with both goals on penalties has to qualify as a dud. Rapinoe and Morgan looked weary on short rest. France will be a battle. Does Jill Ellis need to ring in the changes?
Pre-Knockout round ranking: 1
Pre-World Cup ranking: 1