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Spain have put on a great show so far. Their victories in the group stage showed the team’s potential and they will have learned a lot from the 4-0 defeat to Japan. That was a tough game. Aitana Bonmati and Jenni Hermoso have been the standout players but, more importantly, getting to the last eight has been a solid team effort.

The quarter-final against the Netherlands is going to be tough, but I have faith in this Spain team. And, if they face Japan again, they will have learned their lesson from the first time. I’m still confident of Spain going all the way. Miriam

Aitana Bonmati scores for Spain in their 5-1 win against Switzerland in the last 16. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images


The Orange Lionesses played well for an hour against Portugal and for a half against the USA before dealing with Vietnam clinically. The vibes back home have been critical, but overall that was not a bad start. South Africa exposed our lack of pace at the back in the last-16 game but, as Sweden and England have shown, you can scrape through games if you have a good goalkeeper.

Jill Roord has stood out with her four goals; Daphne van Donselaar has been great in goal; and Lieke Martens has reinvented herself as an attacking midfielder in Andries Jonker’s new 3-1-4-2 formation. With Danielle van de Donk suspended for our quarter-final against Spain on Friday, I hope Damaris Egurrola is given the chance to fill that huge gap in midfield.

If this is the end of the road for the Dutch, I would like Japan to win it. I love their energy and skill. But ultimately, I think they will struggle with France’s physicality if they meet in the final. Eric

Jill Roord scores the opening goal against South Africa. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images


Japan have played much better than I expected. Victories against Zambia and Costa Rica were perhaps no shock to anyone, but the way they beat a strong Spain team 4-0 was beyond my imagination.

To score 14 goals in four games is a remarkable achievement for a team that has never scored so many goals in a World Cup before. The link-up play has been breathtaking at times, and our defence looks committed and solid. Hinata Miyazawa has scored five of our goals. She has been magnificent and I expect her to be the top scorer in the tournament.

The way the team has played, with solidarity and without fear, has made them one of the best teams to watch in this World Cup. Like in 2011, I expect them to go all the way now and surprise the world. Eiko

Japan celebrate a 3-1 victory against Norway in the last 16. Photograph: Jose Breton/NurPhoto/Shutterstock


The word that comes to mind so far is decent. There is more in this team but, that said, winning games without playing at their best is also a strength.

Goalkeeper Zecira Musovic’s performance in the round of 16 against USA was outstanding and defender Amanda Ilestedt performed solidly at the back while also contributing with three goals. Elin Rubensson, who has replaced the injured captain Caroline Seger, has also impressed with hard-working performances at both ends of the pitch.

I hope Sweden win the tournament, but more players have to step up as the games will just get tougher. Otherwise, I think this will be France’s World Cup to lose. Andreas

Zecira Musovic celebrates with Magdalena Eriksson after beating USA in a penalty shootout. Photograph: Robin Alam/USSF/Getty Images


The first game against Jamaica was disappointing, but we are not the only team who have struggled against the Reggae Girlz. Since then we have scored 12 goals in three games – decent attacking form to take into the quarter-finals.

With four goals in four games, Kadidiatou Diani is looking good for the golden boot. The team is clicking under Herve Renard – I’m glad to finally see some unity in a side that has struggled for that so much in the past.

My only fear is that we have not been properly tested yet. Morocco ran out of steam very early on in the last 16 and our defence cannot afford to be as generous as it was in the bizarre 6-3 win against Panama in the group stage.

Australia will provide our sternest test yet, but I’m very hopeful our tournament will end in triumph. It would mean so much for women’s football in France. Noelle

After 12 goals in the last three games, could this be France’s year? Photograph: Noe Llamas/SPP/Shutterstock


It was a nervy start to the group stage, with that narrow victory over Republic of Ireland. But after the wake-up call against Nigeria, this team has really come into its own. There has been a significant change in gameplan, starting with the Canada game, which has made us more fluid and threatening. All of a sudden we are one of the form teams. Caitlin Foord has been amazing. Her work up front, particularly in the absence of Sam Kerr, has been outstanding. She really deserved her goal against Denmark.

Overall, the tournament has been phenomenal. I expected it to be a success but the scale of that success has been unbelievable. I’ve never seen so much public interest in the sport in this country, and seeing the colour and sound brought by people flocking in from around the world has been a sight to behold.

I genuinely see Australia winning it now. The draw has opened up a bit with some of the shock exits. We beat France just a month ago and England are yet to really click. A packed Stadium Australia in the final should bring it home. James

Caitlin Foord celebrates her goal against Denmark. Photograph: Fred Lee/Getty Images


It’s been a ride. We’re not as enjoyable to watch as we were in the Euros and other teams have figured out how to neutralise us. But there are still moments of pure brilliance and I’d still back us in most games. If we had a fully fit squad with Leah Williamson and Beth Mead back at the heart of the team, things would feel very different. I’m not saying we can’t do it but every minute will be hard-fought and I’m not sure my nerves can take it.

Goalkeeper Mary Earps and forward Chloe Kelly have been the standout performers. Earps for her calm, leadership and skill. In a torrid match against Nigeria I was hoping for penalties – which, as an England fan, is mad. That’s when you know you have a keeper you can trust. Kelly for her confidence and pure brilliance in moments that matter. Lauren James also deserves a mention for the impact she made in the group but discipline is so important and I, along with many England fans I imagine, felt let down by her behaviour for the red card.

This tournament has probably got Japan’s name on it, but I wouldn’t rule out the Netherlands either. I’d love England to go the distance, but don’t think luck is on our side this time. Christie

Chloe Kelly comforts Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala after England’s fortuitous victory on penalties in the round of 16. Photograph: Xinhua/Shutterstock


Colombia are among the eight best teams in the world. That’s an historic achievement the players will want to ratify on Saturday against England, the reigning European champions.

We have the team and, above all else, the desire to continue making history. The key will be the connection between Linda Caicedo and Ana María Guzmán, the teenagers who played together in the Under-17s, as well as the experience of Catalina Usme, our all-time leading goalscorer. Colombia are not afraid of any team and they have plenty of competitiveness. Ana María

Catalina Usme scores Colombia’s only goal in their win against Jamaica. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/Shutterstock