It’s a tale of two World Cup groups on Sunday: Group A is almost completely tied through two games and Group H is firmly in control after a win by Germany, one of the most powerful teams in the field.
The anxiety is palpable throughout Group A. There are multiple scenarios where any of the four teams can advance, and therefore multiple scenarios where any of the four see their World Cup come to an abrupt end. Winning is of course the easiest solution. But in some circumstances even that is not enough.
Norway vs Philippines
This is not the WC that Norway had in mind. After being upset by New Zealand, 1-0, in the tournament opener, Norway lost its star, Ada Hegerberg, minutes before kickoff against Switzerland, a match that ended in a goalless draw. These results have left the Norwegians sitting at the bottom of Group A, a group they expected to win.
And if they are to get through, they will have to do so without Hegerberg, the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, who was ruled out for the team’s third game against the Philippines.
Norway would like to win and score a lot to make it easier to advance to the round of 16, although the scenarios are again complicated.
A match will be easier said than done – the Philippines are coming off their first goal and first win of the World Cup in their defeat of New Zealand.
Switzerland vs. New Zealand
New Zealand have experienced many of the highs and lows of an international tournament condensed into the first week of this World Cup. The Football Ferns started their campaign with a stunning upset of Norway in front of a home crowd, only to lose as favorites to the Philippines days later.
Now New Zealand really needs to win against Switzerland. The scenarios are black-and-white (or, in our case, pink-and-green): win and move on, lose and go home. There is limited potential for a draw to be enough, but that will depend on the outcome of Norway’s matchup with the Philippines.
Switzerland currently leads Group A with a win over the Philippines and a draw with Norway. Unless the Swiss lose to New Zealand and Norway defeat the Philippines by a wide margin, Switzerland would advance.
Germany vs Colombia
As Group A battles until the final whistle, Germany comfortably win Group H after beating Morocco 6-0 in the opening match. Having reached the quarter-finals every previous tournament, this year looks set to be no different thanks to a favorable draw.
Colombia is wrapping up a strong year of international competition after a runner-up finish in last summer’s Copa América, where it lost the final to Brazil. The Colombians also opened their World Cup with a 2-0 victory over South Korea. While they are unlikely to be a match for the Germans, the Colombians are still in position to progress to the knockout rounds.
In its last match, Colombia will face Morocco, who beat South Korea 1-0 on Sunday.