Soccer

Aside from the U.S., it’s an all-European quarterfinal. What does it mean for the Olympics?

Look at the teams remaining in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Norway, England, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, France and the United States. Aside from the U.S. Women’s National Team, what do they all have in common?

They’re European sides.

Is this even the World Cup anymore or is this the UEFA European Championship? Well, the United States is the last team to prevent an all-Europe final or European side from hoisting the cup in July.

The tournament held in France has also doubled as tournament within a tournament. That’s because the top three European teams in the Women’s World Cup qualify for the next Summer Olympics, which are held in Toyko in 2020. With three of the four quarterfinals featuring only European teams, Olympic qualifiers from Europe could be settled this weekend.

Norway plays England on Thursday, and the United States faces France on Friday. Germany-Sweden and Italy-Netherlands are set for Saturday.

Half of the top-10-ranked teams in FIFA’s official women’s world rankings are outside of Europe. The United States, ranked No. 1 in the world and a pretournament favorite to win its record fourth World Cup title, is the only one left crashing Europe’s party.

Canada, Australia, Japan and Brazil all flamed out in the Round of 16.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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