In the final match of the Round of 16, the Netherlands and Japan will match up in Rennes, France. After making the final in 2015 and winning it all in 2011, Japan’s goal of making it to a third consecutive final is on the line as they enter as an underdog against the Dutch, as reported by Bleacher Report. The Netherlands has been one of the most impressive teams of the tournament, winning all three of their Group E matches and will be looking to exact revenge against Japan after being eliminated in the Round of 16 of the 2015 World Cup. Japan’s journey has been much less impressive, securing only one win in their Group D matches and receiving a humbling defeat against England.
While the Dutch national team has very little history in the World Cup, having only made the tournament for the first time in 2015, it can’t be denied that they have quickly established themselves as potential giant-slayer in the knockout stages. While their Round of 16 appearance in 2015 was unexpected, there is no surprise in 2019 as they are tipped to end Japan’s run of dominance in the tournament, as well as defeat the China-Italy winner in the quarterfinals.
As they are currently sitting with seven wins out of seven in 2019 and are arguably the hottest team in the world, it’s hard to not see that goal being achieved. Still, it’s dangerous to look ahead against a team like Japan, and the Netherlands will have to continue their impressive performances if they are to reach their potential.
While this Japanese team isn’t of the standard shown in the previous tournaments, over the course of the group stage, a young team emerged that is likely to ensure they will still be a factor in the future. They have been forced to deal with injuries to their top players and in the process discovered an impressively deep team. While there was a clear gulf in talent against England, Japan didn’t collapse and was the better team for spells.
Of the five undefeated teams they could have faced in the Round of 16, manager Asako Takakura will be happy to have gotten arguably the weakest team, talent-wise, in the Dutch women. Still, while Japan has shown flashes that they could go on a run, it will take their best performance of the tournament to put away the Netherlands.
Date: Tuesday, June 25
Time: 9 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET
TV Info: BBC Four, Fox Sports 1