Those still unconvinced about the quality of women’s football should see the first outstanding match of a promising but often uneven World Cup
Germany, two-time winners and ranked No 1 in the world, face the dark horses, world No 3 France. It is likely to be one of the few matches featuring two high-class teams both committed to attack.
Though France were beaten in the group stages by Colombia, and Germany held by Norway, each have generally been in excellent form in Canada, winning their last-16 matches even more easily than the scorelines – respectively 3-0 against South Korea and 4-1 against Sweden – suggest.
The Germans play an aggressive high-tempo pressing game with good use of overlapping full-backs. They have a potent attack, with Anja Mittag and Celia Sasic having already scored five goals apiece. Other players to watch out for are midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan and right-winger Simone Laudehr.
The French tend to have a more deliberate build-up but also have skilled, powerful players and good depth. Striker Eugénie Le Sommer is having a fine tournament and winger Élodie Thomis, when in the mood, is a handful while Wendie Renard is a commanding centre-half and Amandine Henry is currently outshining the highly rated Louisa Necib in midfield.
This is a meeting between the established European power and the coming one. Germany have won the last six European Championships and their clubs six of the last eight Champions League finals. France are yet to win any major honour but, led by Lyons – the only non-German team to win the Champions League since 2007 – and Paris Saint-Germain, who provide almost all of Philippe Bergeroo’s team, they are challenging.
Why are two such heavily-favoured teams meeting at the quarter-final stage? They were seeded to do this. Fifa have admitted that the draw was structured – critics say rigged – to maximise ticket sales and television audiences.
For the fairness of the tournament it is not ideal, but it should be a high-calibre match relatively early in the knockout stages.Reuse content