(Reuters) – The Round of 16 at the 2015 Women’s World Cup is taking shape, with defending champion Japan and former runner-up Brazil already securing spots after two games of group play.
But there still are questions to be answered before the Round of 16 gets underway in the Canadian cities of Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, Moncton and Vancouver on Saturday.
Will parity continue to be a factor? The Women’s World Cup was expanded to 24 teams from the 16 teams that participated in 2011. But that has not made things easy for the experienced countries. Only Japan and Brazil have gained six points from their first two games and there was the unexpected 2-0 win from Colombia over France on Saturday.
Can the host Canadians and their rival Americans unlock their offences? Canada have scored just once — a late-game penalty from captain Christine Sinclair — in their 1-0 win over China and 0-0 draw with New Zealand.
The Group-D leading Americans, 1-1-0, complete their stage group play against Nigeria, 0-1-1, on Tuesday. Nigeria yielded five goals in its first two games.