The Women’s World Cup Semifinals Are Set

The Women’s World Cup is down to their last four teams. #1 vs. #2 square off first as Germany faces the United States on Tuesday and the former champs Japan face England on Wednesday. Amid all of the parity going on during this Women’s World Cup, Germany, United States and Japan have won five of the last six Women’s World Cups and won every tournament since 1995.

Each team obviously wants to win the Women’s World Cup and each team has their own reasons as to why they want to win the World Cup. Who are these teams and how did they get here?

Germany

Germany is the #1 team in the world and while they are the only country to have won a senior Men’s and Women’s World Cup, they are trying to become the first country to be the current champion in both tournaments at the same time.

Germany also look to win the World Cup in the toughest way ever. If Japan advances to the Final and Germany wins the Women’s World Cup, they will have beaten the other four top five teams in the Knockout Stage to win. They beat Sweden (#5) in the Round of 16 and France (#3) in the Quarterfinals. And then they will have beaten the USA (#2) in the Semifinals and Japan (#4) in the Final. It would definitely be the toughest road to a championship and put the German Women’s National Team into a pantheon of greatness that we have never seen before.

Germany may be without midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan as she is doubtful for the Semifinal game against USA. That and they got taken to PK’s by France in the Quarterfinals. They will definitely be tested by the United States.

United States

The USA got here by going through their tough opponents in the Group Stage by beating Australia and drawing against Sweden and Nigeria. Now they enter the Knockout Stage and really have had the easiest road at this point. After beating Colombia in the Round of 16, they beat China in the Quarterfinals to finally get their first test in the Knockout Stage against Germany.

Out of the three World Cup winners still alive in the tournament, the United States have gone the farthest amount of time without winning. It’s been 16 years since the USWNT last won the Women’s World Cup and Christie Rampone is the only person on this years roster to have been on the 1999 team. And with many players, including Abby Wambach, getting up there in age, this may be the last chance for a lot of USWNT players to win.

Japan

Japan has been the most solid team of the Women’s World Cup. They remain the only team to have won every game this year and they won each game by a goal. They beat Cameroon, Switzerland and Ecuador without too much trouble. Then after beating the Netherlands, they got their biggest test of the tournament against Australia. Even though Australia made it tough for Japan, the champs scored late and held out to the 1-0 win to go to the Semifinals.

Japan is looking to win their second consecutive and tie the US and Germany for most Women’s World Cup titles. They also want to show that their 2011 win wasn’t a fluke and being the best in two World Cups in a row will silence those critics.

England

England is the surprise team of the Women’s World Cup. They haven’t won a Women’s World Cup before and they haven’t even gotten past the Round of 16 until this year. After losing to France, England beat Colombia and Mexico in the Group Stage as well as 95′ Champ Norway in the Round of 16. After winning a thriller against hosts Canada in the Quarterfinals, England is so close to experiencing greatness on the soccer field for the first time in a long time.

England wants to make their country proud and be competitive. The team probably didn’t expect to get this far so it’s likely a shock but they seem to be taking things in stride and is getting the confidence to go out and do even more. The opportunity is there, go for it.

It’s also refreshing to see a country with such an influence in soccer history and culture as England finally embracing the Women’s game. In their previous World Cup endeavors, they got hardly any support from across the pond. This year, even before the Semifinal berth, they got more and more support from fans to the FA and to many English teams by giving more and more resources to their domestic league. When England defeated Canada in the Quarterfinals, BBC 1 had the game and received congratulations from many people who stayed up late to watch the game, including royalty.

It’s going to be a great finish to the Women’s World Cup. Germany/USA is on FOX on Tuesday with kickoff at 7 PM ET and Japan/England is on FS1 on Wednesday with kickoff at 7 PM ET.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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