After three years of build up and anticipation, the 2023 World Cup is coming down under with Australia and New Zealand hosting the history making tournament.
32 teams are vying for the World Cup with 64 matches taking place over 31 days, across nine venues and the all-conquering US Women’s National Team are the favourites to win their third successive title.
Spain and England are on the next lines of betting while the Australians are seen as a real chance to ride the home ground advantage all the way to a maiden title.
We’ve got you covered with our match previews and World Cup tips below so read on and find our best bets for the tournament as it unfolds.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FINAL
Spain vs England
Sunday 20 August, 8:00pm, Stadium Australia
Probably not the Final we were hoping to see as Aussie spectators, but there’s absolutely no denying that this match is going to be a cracker.
Spain recorded two wins from three pool games, suffering a hefty defeat to Japan on the other occasion, but they really have gone to another level in the knockout stages.
Having destroyed Switzerland, the Spaniards proved too good for 2019 World Cup Finalists the Netherlands before ending Sweden’s tournament on Tuesday.
They play with speed, vision and confidence, and they are deserving of their early World Cup betting favouritism.
England were faultless in the Group stage, recording three wins from as many games, and after their scare against Nigeria in the Round of 16, they’ve been very good against Colombia and Australia.
The reigning European champions boast one of the most complete squads across the pitch, a second-to-none understanding between their players, and that could prove the key on Sunday night.
Neither country has ever won a Women’s World Cup, and that adds just a little extra spice to it all.
It’s new territory for both, but given England’s recent success at the Euros, I think they might just sneak home in the Women’s World Cup Final.
Back England to Win @ $1.96
Back Rachel Daly to Score a Goal at Any Time @ $5.50
Australia vs Sweden
Saturday 19 August, 6:00pm, Brisbane Stadium
It wasn’t meant to be for our Matildas, but the job’s not done, and we can still record our best-ever result at a Women’s World Cup by winning the third-place playoff.
There is no doubt that England looked the far more dangerous side in Wednesday night’s semi-final, but Australia still played with the backbone to which we’ve grown accustomed and boy, how about Sam Kerr’s goal!? One of, if not to best strike of the entire tournament.
I personally thought that Sweden would win through to the Women’s World Cup Final, but they too ran into an extremely hungry opponent, and Spain just proved a touch too good.
Still, they were in the contest right to the final whistle, and that last ten minutes of regular time really was one to remember.
I have literally nothing between these two sides, other than Australia’s parochial home ground advantage, and I think that just might prove the difference.
Back Australia to Win @ $1.92
Spain vs Sweden
Tueaday 15 August, 6:00pm, Eden Park
The first World Cup Semi-Final sees Spain take on Sweden, and it looms as a terrific contest.
Incredibly, Spain has never made this point of a Women’s World Cup, but they have been excellent since arriving in Australia.
Having finished second in the Group C despite suffering a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Japan, Spain have gone to a new level in the knockout stages, delivering Switzerland a 5-1 defeat before seeing off 2019 World Cup finalists the Netherlands at their latest.
They’ve opened favourites ahead of this clash, but further improvement will be necessary.
Sweden have been a mainstay towards the top of the world rankings in Women’s Football for many years, and after winning all their of their Group G matches, they’ve since ended the chances of the USA and Japan.
The $3.80 about them in match betting (90 minutes) looks a touch of overs, but I am confident they will progress to the final, so I am going to take them at $2.34 to qualify for the next round.
Sweden to Qualify for the Next Round @ $2.34
Australia vs England
Wednesday 16 August, 6:00pm, Stadium Australia
The nation’s focus will be on Sydney on Wednesday night when the Matildas’ incredible campaign continues against England.
Australia had never reached the Semi-Final stage at a football World Cup, but eliminating Denmark in the Round of 16, they returned another spirited performance to sink France in a penalty shootout in Brisbane.
What a rollercoaster of emotion that was.
England have actually returned a similar campaign to Australia, and after topping Group D, they were forced into a penalty shootout by Nigeria in the Round of 16.
They showed plenty of gumption to fight back from an early deficit and defeat Colombia on Saturday night, and they take plenty of deserved confidence and momentum into this clash.
I am a firm believer in what Australia is building towards, and I am keen to continue riding the wave!
Australia to Qualify for the Next Round @ $2.20
Spain vs Netherlands
Friday 11 August, 11:00am, Wellington Regional Stadium
Spain 2 – Netherlands 1 (A.E.T)
Spain could not have produced a better response to their group stage hammering at the hands of Japan than their 5-1 demolition of Switzerland in the Round of 16.
It has given them plenty of confidence ahead of this all European clash in Wellington, with the Dutch coming off a clinical 2-0 win over a South African side that had scored in every match prior.
When it comes to head to head meetings, Spain have had the better of the last few years, winning all three matches to nil since 2018 and have their sights set on the final in just over a week’s time.
Spain is the better team here and it certainly looks like that Japan defeat gave them the necessary wake up call heading into the knockout phase.
I’m not expecting a blowout but the Spanish side should have enough to progress in normal time.
Spain to Win (90 Minutes) @ $1.83
Japan vs Sweden
Friday 11 August, 5:30pm, Eden Park
If you are not buying the hype surrounding Japan yet, this may be your last chance to this tournament.
Through four matches there is a case to be made for them being the best team at the World Cup despite the apparent lack of hype surrounding them.
After finishing the stronger of the two sides in the Round of 16 when they dispatched Norway, they have another Scandinavian opponent on the cards here.
Sweden made everyone take note with their dramatic penalties win over the Americans but you have to wonder how much that took out of the team ahead of another tough fixture.
They were on the back foot and thanks in large part to the efforts of Zecira Musovic, they were able to hold on for the win on penalties.
As impressive as that was, it’s tough to see a way they can do it again, especially against an opponent that is showing no mercy.
Japan to Win (90 Minutes) @ $2.30
Australia vs France
Saturday 12 August, 5:00pm, Lang Park
Australia 0 – France 0 (Australia 7-6 Pens)
Not to go too far down the hyperbole route, but in the last 20 years, you will struggle to find a bigger occasion to come to Lang Park than a World Cup Quarter Final.
Australia will have the benefit of the home crowd at their backs but they will also have the burden of home crowd expectations.
France on the other hand have discovered their attacking rhythm, scoring 10 goals in their last two matches, including a ruthless 4-0 win over Morocco in the Round of 16.
While the temptation is to refer to the Aussies 1-0 friendly win over the French four weeks ago and wonder why they are not favourites, it’s also worth noting that was far from a comfortable performance from either side on the night, and it was a friendly.
Australia is a much better chance to advance out of this fixture than their current price suggests, even with France looking scarily good, but I’m going to back the Aussies with a bit of insurance, taking them in the To Qualify market rather than the 90 minute one.
Australia to Qualify @ $2.25
England vs Colombia
Saturday 12 August, 8:30pm, Stadium Australia
If England are going to win the World Cup, they are determined to do it the hard way, only just surviving their Round of 16 tie with Nigeria on penalties.
They will have to go through the rest of the tournament without star attacker Lauren James after her brain snap resulted in a direct red card for stamping, which does dull their attack somewhat.
Colombia will not make things any easier for them in the Quarter Finals with the South Americans enjoying their best World Cup performance to date.
Defensively they have been strong, conceding just twice through four matches, which has all signs pointing towards another arm wrestle that goes down to the wire.
Anything more than one goal during normal time would be a surprise with both sides looking to build from the back and the unders looks to be the way to go here.
Under 1.5 Goals @ $2.55
ROUND OF 16
Switzerland vs Spain
Saturday 5 August, 3:00pm, Eden Park
It’s an all European clash to kick start the knockout stage of the 2023 World Cup, although neither side exactly inspired confidence with their recent form.
The Swiss kept a trio of clean sheets in their group stage matches, however their last goal came in their only win against the Philippines, giving them a goal drought of just over three hours.
Spain have looked good for the most part, but a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Japan in their last match could be a warning sign not all is well in the camp… or a sign Japan is a proper contender.
If both play to their potential, this should be an easy win for Spain but they will have to break down a miserly Swiss defence, something their last four opponents have failed to do.
It should be Spain going through, but they are at very short odds so instead I’ll be looking at the under here.
Under 2.5 Goals @ $1.82
Japan vs Norway
Saturday 5 August, 6:00pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
If there were any lingering questions over the legitimacy of this Japanese team, they were blown away as they recorded a resounding win over Spain last up.
That sent them through to the knockouts with a perfect tally of nine points, and perhaps more impressively, a record of 11 goals scored and none conceded so far.
If there is a time to jump on the bandwagon, this is it, in spite of Norway putting six past a Philippines team that had clearly spent all of their energy in their first two fixtures.
If that is a sign of things to come, Japan will be a team to watch over the next two weeks.
Japan to Win (90 Minutes) @ $1.80
Netherlands vs South Africa
Sunday 6 August, 12:00pm, Stadium Australia
Netherlands 2 – South Africa 0
As you sit down to Sunday lunch and wonder why the Dutch are taking on the South Africans, you can take some joy in the fact that this match was scheduled for prime time in the American television markets.
Unfortunately for them, nobody told the Netherlands who went on and topped their group, ahead of the defending champions.
They showed plenty of grit and determination early on to see of Portugal and get a draw from the USA match, before displaying their ruthless edge putting seven past Vietnam.
South Africa has been one of the most entertaining teams to watch, with both teams to score and the overs hitting in all three of their matches.
A good record in a tournament that has seen plenty of unders.
They are every chance to make this one interesting one way or another, but it’s tough to see them matching up with the Netherlands.
It’s worth sticking with the trend and backing both teams to score, but there’s no chance I’m picking anything other than a win for the Netherlands.
Netherlands to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $2.63
Sweden vs USA
Sunday 6 August, 7:00pm, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Sweden 0 – USA 0 (Sweden 5-4 Pens)
The warning signs that all is not right with the Americans have been there for everyone to see.
They are still one of the most talented teams at this tournament but it has not clicked, and they were millimetres away from a shock exit at the hands of Portugal.
However they got the job done (barely) and are now four wins away from another world championship.
Sweden will not roll over however and they have looked good after an early scare against South Africa.
Since that lucky escape they have looked a lot sharper and displayed more guile, which sets them up well here.
It’s tough to split these teams and it would not be a surprise to see this one go beyond the 90 minutes.
Draw (90 Minutes) @ $3.10
England vs Nigeria
Monday 7 August, 5:30pm, Lang Park
England 0 – Nigeria 0 (England 4-2 Pens)
England certainly played their way into the tournament, following up a pair of hard fought 1-0 wins with a 6-1 demolition of Asian champions China in their final group game.
While they have had to overcome an injury suffered to key midfielder Kiera Walsh, that has been offset by the continued emergence of Lauren James.
The Chelsea flyer is going to be crucial for the English chances in the latter stages of this tournament, but she, along with the rest of the attackers, are going to have their work cut out for them against a well organised and well drilled Nigerian team.
They kept a pair of clean sheets in the group stage, earning points against Ireland and Nigeria, either side of an entertaining 3-2 win over Australia.
Nigeria is not an easy side to break down with defender Osinachi Ohale leading a stout unit.
There is likely to be a period of acclimatisation and feeling out in this match but eventually England should be able to find a way through.
Draw/England HT/FT Double @ $3.50
Australia vs Denmark
Monday 7 August, 8:30pm, Stadium Australia
After the doom and gloom surrounding their defeat to Nigeria, the Australians responded in emphatic fashion to defeat Canada and top the group in the process.
It provided a much needed confidence boost for a side that had been languishing without captain Sam Kerr.
The combination of Caitlin Foord and Steph Cately on the left had a field day and it appears as though Tony Gustavsson has found a winning combination to cover for Kerr’s absence.
Denmark ground their way through to the knockout stage but on their day they just don’t have the firepower to match Australia when the tournament hosts get going.
They might not make it easy but Australia has the talent to see off Denmark and in the process advance to the quarter finals.
Australia to Win (90 Minutes) @ $1.87
Colombia vs Jamaica
Tuesday 8 August, 6:00pm, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
One of the great stories of the group stage, Jamaica have won many admirers reaching the Round of 16.
However it’s tough to see another chapter being added after this fixture with a tough task in the form of Colombia up next.
It is impossible to question their resolve and determination after holding France and Brazil to 0-0 draws, especially to eliminate the latter on the final matchday.
Colombia recorded a big name scalp of their own in group play, recording a last gasp win over Germany to help them top Group H.
Despite losing to Morocco on Matchday 3 they had the points in the bag and should be able to get through Jamaica here.
Colombia to Win (90 Minutes) @ $2.05
France vs Morocco
Tuesday 8 August, 9:00pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
Fresh off the highest scoring match in the tournament, France will be hoping for a similar outcome when they take on another one of the tournament surprise packets in Morocco.
After a horrendous first up hammering from Germany they rebounded with a pair of 1-0 wins to get through the group stage.
However this has the makings of another blowout win in favour of the European side who have looked like a whole new team in attack over their last two matches.
While an upset would add to an already insane tournament, it just isn’t something I would be eager to back.
France Win and Over 3.5 Goals @ $2.35
New Zealand vs Norway
Thursday 20 July, 5:00pm, Eden Park
It’s a tough first up assignment for co-hosts New Zealand as they take on Norway in the opening match of the tournament.
The Europeans are the clear favourites to take out overall honours in the group and would love to make a statement with a big win first up.
While neither team is bringing a great form line into the tournament, the big difference is the respective abilities in front of goal.
New Zealand has won just once in its last ten matches, and that was over Vietnam, which was also the only time the Silver Ferns scored more than one goal in a match.
Compare that to Norway who have not played a competitive fixture since April, but have no shortage of firepower with their most recent result being a 3-3 draw with Sweden.
They have won or drawn in seven of their last ten and they look like the better side here.
Norway/Norway HT/FT @ $1.83
Australia vs Ireland
Thursday 20 July, 8:00pm, Stadium Australia
It’s going to be a spectacular sight when the Matildas walk out onto Stadium Australia, greeted by a sell out crowd and we will get a strong indication about their chances from this game.
Playing in front of packed stadiums with their friends and family in the crowd is going to go one of two ways, either motivating them to perform above and beyond or the weight of expectation will prove to be too much.
At least early on, it should be the former.
Ireland will be no pushover and will set out to make the Australian’s life as tough as possible for the duration of the match, sitting on the back foot and looking to strike on the counter.
In the last few months, we have seen Australia develop a much stronger defensive resilience, keeping clean sheets in six of their last eight outings and with Ireland unlikely to offer much threat going forward, one goal should be enough.
With no easybeats in their group, the Aussies might not have that double digit victory that some of the other heavyweights will, but they should be able to work their way around this Irish side and start the tournament off on a winning note, even if it’s a nervous finish.
Australia to Win to Nil @ $1.91
Nigeria vs Canada
Friday 21 July, 12:30pm, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Group B’s second match kicks off day two of the tournament with the upstart Nigerians set to take on a Canadian team that will have their eyes set on a deep run.
However the North American side’s preparation has been less than ideal in the build up to this tournament with a labour dispute disrupting their training camp, so a slow start is not out of the question.
Nigeria will be well placed to take advantage of a potentially below par Canadian side with their Spanish based attackers, Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona) and Gift Monday (Tenerife).
While they have not faced an international opponent in the lead up, they have played warm up matches against a local Queensland opponent and built up plenty of confidence with a resounding win over the weekend.
With Canada’s striker Christine Sinclair looking to score in a sixth consecutive World Cup tournament we could see a fair few goals in this one and the play here is backing both teams to get on the scoreboard.
Both Teams to Score @ $1.91
Philippines vs Switzerland
Friday 21 July, 3:00pm, Dunedin Stadium
Philippines 0 – Switzerland 2
Perhaps it is because we have seen a fair few of their squad members running around in the A-League and are quite familiar with their coach, but the Philippines have the look of a team ready to upset the apple cart.
They might not get anything from their opening match against Switzerland but they are going to make life tough on the European heavyweights.
While their recent record of five wins from six makes for good reading, those victories have come against the likes of Vietnam, Malaysia and Tajikistan and does include a loss to Myanmar.
Switzerland’s record is not exactly imposing either, with their last win coming in October 2022 in their World Cup playoffs against Wales.
Since then they have recorded five draws and two defeats, with their potency in front of goal looming as a problem for a side hoping to make a run in the knockout phase.
With some early adjustments likely being required from both sides, the under looks to be the way to go.
The Swiss should get the job done but it might not be the blowout the market is expecting.
Under 3.5 Goals @ $1.57
Spain vs Costa Rica
Friday 21 July, 5:30pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
Now for the first potential blowout of the tournament with Spain taking on Costa Rica at the Caketin.
Compare and contrast the expectations of the two sides and you can see why the hopes for a close match are few and far between.
Spain is amongst the outright favourites for the tournament, are in the midst of a golden generation and will be coming into the tournament in red hot form.
They have won their last six friendlies in the lead up, scoring 28 goals and conceding just two to Norway in that run, and they just belted Vietnam 9-0.
Costa Rica has won one of its last seven, a 2-0 victory over Haiti and just don’t seem to match up well against Spain at all.
The real dilemma for this match is working out when Spain will say enough and take their foot off the accelerator.
However with Alexia Putellas chasing the Golden Boot at the tournament, she may want to take the opportunity to bolster her tally with the Americans and English teams in action the following day.
Spain to Win and Over 5.5 Goals @ $2.38
USA vs Vietnam
Saturday 22 July, 11:00am, Eden Park
It’s an early start on Saturday with this match set for primetime in the US and the competitive portion should last all of five minutes.
Four years ago the Americans opened their campaign with a 13-0 belting of Thailand and quite frankly, it would be a massive surprise if they were held to a single digit score here.
34 year old Alex Morgan is still playing and scoring for fun, and she is another player eyeing off the tournament golden boot.
To win it amongst a competitive field, she is going to have to boost her tally in a game like this so don’t be at all surprised if she manages to replicate the five she put past the Thai keeper in Reims.
Alex Morgan to Score a Hat-Trick @ $3.30
Zambia vs Japan
Saturday 22 July, 5:00pm, Waikato Stadium
Asian heavyweights Japan will go into this match as heavy favourites and for them, job number one is taking care of business against Zambia.
Having recorded an impressive 3-2 win over Germany and a 3-3 draw with Switzerland earlier this month, Zambia is a side that can absolutely cause problems for an opponent that is off their game.
However when they took on 2022 Asian Cup finalists South Korea in April, they were summarily trounced 5-2 and 5-0 in those friendlies which does beg the question on how well they match up with Asian opponents.
There has been no shortage of goals for either team with Japan recording a 5-0 thumping of Panama in their warm-up fixture and they can score at will when needed.
Both teams could score a few goals but Japan is the better side and they should finish on top, even if they need to score three or four to get the win.
Japan to Win and Over 3.5 Goals @ $2.05
England vs Haiti
Saturday 22 July, 7:30pm, Lang Park
One goal will likely be enough for England in their opening match against debutants Haiti, but they are probably going to score a whole lot more.
Having come through the Inter-Confederation Playoffs, just making the World Cup is a huge achievement for Haiti but their results in the build up are not exactly confidence inspiring.
Like some of the other minnows they will look to stifle England and hold on for as long as possible, but once the dam breaks, the goals are going to come in droves.
England has no shortage of capable strikers who will be eager to make their mark in the golden boot race but with a number of candidates to be the primary outlet, backing individual players might be a good idea to stay away from.
Instead, just look for England to record a comfortable win and move on with business.
England to Win -4 Goals @ $2.20
Denmark vs China
Saturday 22 July, 10:00pm, Perth Rectangular Stadium
Don’t sleep on this Chinese team, the reigning Asian champions are going to be a tough out in this tournament.
If they are to go against the grain and emerge out of Group D, this is the game they simply have to win.
They have the form heading into the tournament with a pair of wins over Russia as well as draws with Switzerland and Colombia, having come from 2-0 down in the Asian Cup Final 18 months ago to win 3-2.
Denmark lost their warm up fixture against Spain, which is hardly a cause for concern when you see that ended a four game winning streak over Norway, Uruguay, Sweden and Japan.
The Danes look like one of the better defensive sides at the tournament and this may be a late Saturday night grind for some viewers.
Whoever scores first will feel pretty confident in their ability to hold on to that lead and we could see a real arm wrestle unfold.
Under 2.5 Goals @ $1.92
Sweden vs South Africa
Sunday 23 July, 3:00pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
Sweden 2 – South Africa 1
This will be the fourth time in the last decade and a bit that Sweden has faced off with South Africa with the Europeans winning three of the four matches and drawing the most recent encounter.
A fair bit has changed for both sides since they met in London in 2012, but the Swedes remain the better side (on paper at least) and the Group G favourites are expected to make short work of their opponents here.
South Africa’s build up has been mixed to say the least with a 5-0 loss to Botswana and a 2-0 win over Costa Rica.
But when they take on the bigger nations, they really have struggled of late, including a 4-1 loss to Australia, a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil in 2022 and a 5-1 loss to the Netherlands in 2022.
It’s tough to see this one being all that close and the Swedes should handle this assignment easily.
Sweden to Win and Over 3.5 Goals @ $2.40
Netherlands vs Portugal
Sunday 23 July, 5:30pm, Dunedin Stadium
Netherlands 1 – Portugal 0
Dunedin plays host to this tantalising all-European clash between the Dutch and Portuguese sides.
Despite starting as clear outsiders, the Portuguese will be very confident following a strong build up that featured a draw against England and a win over the Ukraine in the last three weeks.
The Netherlands have only played one warm up international this month, but they had no problems brushing aside Belgium 5-0 in a game that produced five separate goalscorers.
Lieke Martens has been a reliable outlet in the final third for the Dutch and will be seeking her 61st international goal in this fixture, having already scored three goals this calendar year.
She is a proven goalscorer and should add to her tally in a Netherlands victory and that is what we are backing here.
SGM: Netherlands Win and Lieke Martens Anytime Goalscorer @ $3.17
France vs Jamaica
Sunday 23 July, 8:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium
France might have dropped their last warm up game against the Aussies in Melbourne last week but they are going to take this one in a canter.
Jamaica looks wide open at the back and have conceded at least three goals in five of their last eight outings.
On their day the French are capable of putting a rugby score on an opponent and there is no reason to expect anything less here.
It might be a slower second half as the French have one eye on a big clash with Brazil to decide Group F on the horizon but they should be well clear by half time.
France to Win -4 Goals @ $2.50
Italy vs Argentina
Monday 24 July, 4:00pm, Eden Park
Italy’s two warm up matches broke a rather remarkable streak where their four prior matches were decided by a score of 2-1, with the Italians coming out on top twice.
In their two outings this July, they kept clean sheets with a scoreless draw against Morocco and a 1-0 win in New Zealand.
They will be put to the test by an Argentine side that has not lost in six outings in 2023, with a 4-0 win over Peru to wrap up their preparations before heading across the Pacific.
Even more impressively, they have conceded just the one goal to Venezuela in that time and that defensive resilience is going to be very important come Monday evening in Auckland.
There might not be many low scoring encounters in the group stage but this has the makings of one with both sides very strong at the back.
Under 2.5 Goals @ $1.92
Germany vs Morocco
Monday 24 July, 6:30pm, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
If there is a silver lining to Morocco carrying a five match winless run into the tournament, it’s that they have not been blown out in any of those fixtures.
However the looming cloud that has the silver lining is a stark reminder that they have not scored a goal in any of those five matches and have not faced an opponent of the Germans quality.
Admittedly this might not be the best version of Germany but they are still the European finalists from 12 months ago and are more than capable of putting a big score on any opponent.
Still likely to be seething after a shock 3-2 loss to Zambia in their last warm up match, expect the Germans to produce a response here and remind everyone why they are the Group H favourites.
Germany to Win -4 Goals @ $3.70
Brazil vs Panama
Monday 24 July, 9:00pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
In the City of Churches, Panama will find themselves praying for mercy from a Brazilian side that will have their sights set on a big win.
Their last two matches saw them belted by Spain 7-0 and Japan 5-0 so that should give a pretty strong indication of the mismatch here.
Brazil is the reigning South American champion and pushed England all the way in the Finalissima back in April.
Not to mention they are wheeling out one of the most talented sides at this World Cup that will see this as the first of seven hurdles to an eventual title.
If you are on the east coast of Australia or in New Zealand, there may not be a need to stay up too late to see how this one is going to unfold.
Brazil to Win -5 Goals @ $3.20
Colombia vs South Korea
Tuesday 25 July, 12:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium
Colombia 2 – South Korea 0
With both sides battling for the runner up spot in Group H, this is going to be a critical match that neither side can afford to drop.
Defeat here would put the losing team behind the eight ball and leave them needing to get by Germany later on to try and salvage their campaign.
Colombia’s preparation has not been the smoothest, with their closed doors friendly against Ireland abandoned after 20 minutes, which was followed by a 2-2 draw with China.
Just like in the tournament preview, this feels like a match that can go either way and South Korea look like the value as slight underdogs.
South Korea to Win @ $2.80
New Zealand vs Philippines
Tuesday 25 July, 3:30pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
New Zealand 0 – Philippines 1
It’s fair to say that the balance of fixtures in the first set of matchdays were much lower scoring and far more competitive than anyone was expecting.
New Zealand rode the support of a record home crowd at Eden Park and came away with a hard fought win, courtesy of a Hannah Wilkinson goal.
That home crowd support is expected to travel to the Cake Tin with tickets snapped up quickly following their opening round victory.
A win here could be enough to send the co-hosts through to the knockout stage with a match to spare which should provide all the motivation they need to take care of business.
However it won’t come easily against a Philippines side that is at this tournament to do more than make up the numbers.
They kept it close against a rampant Swiss side that outshot them 19-3 however that is asking a lot to be on the back foot so much in consecutive matches.
I’ll back New Zealand to do enough to win a low scoring game.
New Zealand to Win and Under 3.5 Goals @ $1.75
Switzerland vs Norway
Tuesday 25 July, 6:00pm, Waikato Stadium
Picked by some to be the dark horse of the entire tournament, Norway’s disappointing start extended a worrying winless streak to five matches.
Wasteful in attack and open in defence, the Norwegians just could not find an answer against a New Zealand side they were heavily favoured against.
Switzerland was dominant, albeit inefficient against a well organised Philippines side in their first game, but the question remains about how much freedom they will have against an opponent with no margin for error.
On paper the Norwegians should have this one covered and if you like them to bounce back, there is value backing them to win, however I need to see them play better before I can jump back on board.
The draw looks like the way to go as it keeps both sides alive in the race for a spot in the Round of 16.
Draw @ $3.15
Japan vs Costa Rica
Wednesday 26 July, 3:00pm, Dunedin Stadium
Japan recorded the biggest win in the first round of Group Stage matches (at the time of writing) as they put five past Zambia in one of the more impressive performances of the opening week.
Costa Rica were bulldozed early by Spain, going down 3-0 inside the opening half hour before holding on for that scoreline to remain unchanged at full time.
This looks like a mismatch on paper that will also play out as a mismatch on the pitch with Japan far and away the better side, it just depends how ruthless they want to be.
Recent history shows they are not afraid to go on with the job and they should easily account for their opponents here and put up a big score in the process.
Japan to Win and Over 3.5 Goals @ $1.75
Spain vs Zambia
Wednesday 26 July, 5:30pm, Eden Park
Spain could have put up a rugby score on Costa Rica first up, but instead put the clubs in the bag and were happy to cruise to a 3-0 win.
Admittedly it could have been 4-0 within 34 minutes were it not for the bizarre trend of unsuccessful penalties but that’s beside the point.
Zambia is unlikely to provide anything other than a speed bump for one of, if not the form team in football with the Spanish winning their last seven matches and 13 of their last 15 since their Euros elimination.
Alexia Putellas started on the bench against Costa Rica but she should see a lot more than the 13 minutes she received in that game.
With the markets understandably favouring the Spanish side, you might have to dig for some value and backing Putellas to score a brace is one of the more appealing plays.
Back the Barcelona star to fire in this game and announce her participation in the golden boot race, even if she comes on as a second half sub.
Alexia Putellas to Score 2 or More Goals @ $3.10
Canada vs Ireland
Wednesday 26 July, 10:00pm, Perth Rectangular Stadium
There should be a few goals at Eden Park in the prior match, but the people of Perth could be in for a bit of a scrap in this Group B encounter.
Canada was held to a frustrating 0-0 draw first up by Nigeria with the record setting Christine Sinclair denied from the spot early in the second half.
Ireland will likely copy and paste their game plan from their 1-0 loss to Australia, feeling like their best chance is to frustrate their opponents and try to snatch a goal on the break.
Expect plenty of hard challenges and a few cards to be dished out, but probably not a whole lot of goals.
It’s not the biggest price, but the under is the way to go for this one.
Under 2.5 Goals @ $1.62
USA vs Netherlands
Thursday 27 July, 3:00pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
It’s fair to say that neither side got out of second gear in their opening matches, with the USA handling Vietnam 3-0 while the Dutch accounted for Portugal 1-0.
In a group of the haves and have nots, this game should decide who will take out top spot and there is no reason to expect anything other than an American win here.
However the Dutch will give them a good run, which is why there is a decent price available on the tournament favourites.
No overthinking needed here, take the reigning champs.
USA to Win @ $1.72
Portugal vs Vietnam
Thursday 27 July, 5:30pm, Waikato Stadium
Portugal is the better side in this game, but it’s tough to justify them sitting at $1.07 to beat Vietnam.
Admittedly they should be a clear favourite but having seen the Vietnamese side scrap their way through their game against America and more than hold their own, this is not going to be the blowout the head to head market is suggesting.
Portugal is not exactly an attacking force, scoring more than two goals just once in their last eight matches, and the margin is not as important as getting the three points.
A loss for either team here would all but mathematically end their tournament which is why I’m expecting an arm wrestle to unfold.
It should be a win for the Portuguese, but I just can’t see them scoring a bag of goals against a stubborn opponent that will be holding out as long as possible.
Under 3.5 Goals @ $1.88
Australia vs Nigeria
Thursday 27 July, 8:00pm, Lang Park
It was a nervous first up effort for the Matildas against an Irish side that came out to try and rattle them, but they got the three points.
Nigeria took a point from their opening clash in Melbourne, but it came at a big cost, with midfielder Deborah Abiodun getting sent off in second half stoppage time.
They needed to be at full strength to have a chance at an upset, but they should be able to play the Australians close by using a similar approach to the Canada game.
However even with Sam Kerr set to sit out again, the Australians have plenty of goalscorers at their disposal and someone is going to find a way to step up.
Do not be surprised if Katrina Gorry pops up with a long range bomb in her home city to break the deadlock.
Look for another close Australian win with another clean sheet as they continue to build into the tournament.
Australia to Win to Nil @ $1.95
Argentina vs South Africa
Friday 28 July, 10:00am, Dunedin Stadium
Argentina 2 – South Africa 2
Despite both sides coming off losses in their first matches, they will be feeling very good about their positives and take plenty of confidence into this clash in Dunedin.
Argentina went down to an 87th minute Italian goal while South Africans held a lead over Sweden before the Europeans finished the stronger of the two sides.
There is not a lot between these teams and it is going to be tough to split them, especially with both still harbouring ambitions of winning their last two fixtures and ending up in the knockout stages.
With survival the name of the game here, expect both teams to adopt a risk-averse approach and ensure that their campaign will go down to the final day.
A draw is not an ideal result for either side but it’s one that will be deemed acceptable to ensure that they have something on the line in Matchday 3.
Draw @ $3.05
England vs Denmark
Friday 28 July, 6:30pm, Sydney Football Stadium
England did not look like world beaters first up against a gallant Haiti side that probably could have stolen a point off them.
Despite dominating possession, they struggled to find a way through and had to rely on a retaken penalty from Georgia Stanaway to get by.
Denmark left it very late against China in their game, but also came away with a 1-0 win that they had to work very hard for.
Even though both sides were a bit fortunate to get the win first up, the English side has far more room for improvement and after another week in camp, they should be a bit more sharp.
This should follow the trend of the tournament with only one team able to score a goal and if only one team is going to score, I’m backing that to be England.
England to Win to Nil @ $1.87
China vs Haiti
Friday 28 July, 9:00pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
Haiti might have lost their first match in Brisbane but they won plenty of admirers for the way they took the game to the heavily favoured champions of Europe.
Up next are the reigning champions of Asia who will no doubt be smarting over a dropped point (if not three) first up.
Two things are working against Haiti in this match, firstly their central defender Jennyfer Limage suffered a torn ACL against England and is out for the rest of the tournament and you do have to wonder how much energy they expended against England.
However they are a side that is not afraid to attack and take chances and after their debut, they might play with a bit more freedom against China.
There is value to be found backing Haiti to get at least a point and if they can produce anything similar to their effort against England, they might just stun China.
Haiti Win/Draw Double @ $2.10
Sweden vs Italy
Saturday 29 July, 5:30pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
Don’t count out the Italians at a World Cup, especially since this side is more than capable of causing headaches to much more accomplished sides.
Sweden’s win over South Africa produced more a sense of relief rather than joy after it looked like they would be coming away empty handed for quite a while.
Italy had to work for their win over Argentina but the confidence they can take from a successful start to the tournament will serve them well here.
These sides met in February 2022 in the final of the Algarve Cup with scores locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes with the Swedes emerging victorious on penalties.
Prior to that, the last two meetings were won by Italy inside 90 minutes in a 2018 friendly and the 2017 Euros.
Italy is a much better shot than the market is giving them credit for and the play for this game is to take the double chance on the underdogs.
Italy Win/Draw Double Chance @ $1.91
France vs Brazil
Saturday 29 July, 8:00pm, Lang Park
There may not be a bigger game in the group stage of the World Cup than France taking on Brazil with the Selecao in prime position to take full control of Group F with a win.
France will be out to rebound from a frustrating first up draw with Jamaica but their efforts in their two matches on Aussie soil do not exactly inspire confidence.
After drawing a blank against Australia in a friendly, they peppered the Jamaican goal but were unable to find a breakthrough and were kept scoreless for the second straight match.
Compared to a Brazilian side that trounced an overmatched Panamanian side 4-0, with the scoreline flattering Panama, who will be coming into this one full of confidence.
The good news for France is a defeat here would not end their campaign but it would give them a mountain of work to get through in their final match against Panama.
However based on the evidence presented so far, I can’t take anything other than a Brazil win.
Brazil to Win @ $2.60
Panama vs Jamaica
Saturday 29 July, 10:30pm, Perth Rectangular Stadium
Not to sound overly patronising, but it is pretty clear that for Panama, just making the World Cup is a decent achievement, even if they are not as competitive as one might have hoped.
They gave themselves some tough warm up fixtures, going down to Spain and Japan by big margins before a first up defeat to Brazil.
Jamaica acquitted themselves well against France first up and if they are going to put themselves in position to advance to the knockout stages, they not only need to win this match, but win well.
Their biggest advantage is knowing the result of France-Brazil before this game kicks off and regardless of that outcome, a big margin of victory here would put them in second spot in the group.
Jamaica should be able to get on the front foot a bit more often in this one and backing a win by two or more is at a decent price.
Jamaica to Win -1 Goal @ $2.88
South Korea vs Morocco
Sunday 30 July, 2:30pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
South Korea 0 – Morocco 1
It’s fair to say that neither of these sides would have enjoyed their World Cup opener, with South Korea falling to Colombia and Morocco trounced by Germans.
On balance the Koreans are the much better side, and they really should improve on their first up performance.
They need to win this one and turn around their goal difference deficit to have any hope heading into the final matchday and should be able to take care of business here.
It might not be pretty but in tournament football, the ability to grind out results even if you’re not playing at your best is vital.
South Korea to Win to Nil @ $2.38
Norway vs Philippines
Sunday 30 July, 5:00pm, Eden Park
Group A is set for a thrilling conclusion on Sunday night with the winner of this clash between Norway and the Philippines in a great position to advance to the knockout stage.
A draw could also be enough for the Philippines after their shock win over co-hosts New Zealand, however they would need a Silver Ferns loss in their match kicking off at the same time.
Norway produced an improved effort in their scoreless draw with Switzerland but they have left themselves with a challenge the size of Mt Cook to overcome here.
They lost their best attacker Ada Hegerberg seconds before kick off and the massive injury cloud hanging over her head in the build up to this fixture does not inspire confidence.
Especially when you consider they have been stifled for 180 minutes already, and the Philippines have plenty of resolve and an organised defence.
We’re unlikely to see many goals here when you consider those two factors and the unders looks like the way to go.
Under 2.5 Goals @ $2.20
Switzerland vs New Zealand
Sunday 30 July, 5:00pm, Dunedin Stadium
Switzerland 0 – New Zealand 0
It’s a simple equation for both of these sides, win and you will definitely be through to the Round of 16, potentially at the expense of your opponent, draw and the Swiss will be through and New Zealand will be relying on a favourable result in the other match.
For all the goodwill New Zealand built up in the first match, it was blown away in Wellington as they were left stunned by the Philippines.
Admittedly it came with a tinge of frustration as Hannah Wilkinson was denied by a marginal offside call, but that’s football in 2023.
The Swiss did not capitalise on a vulnerable Norwegian team and were forced to settle for a draw in their second match, but that point could be valuable in the long run.
With neither side really offering a lot going forward and both set to play risk-averse football, the under looks like the way to go again.
Under 1.5 Goals @ $2.65
Germany vs Colombia
Sunday 30 July, 7:30pm, Sydney Football Stadium
Anyone doubting the German’s efficiency was silenced after their ruthless finishing over Morocco saw them record the biggest win of the first set of Group Stage fixtures.
Colombia will put up a much sterner test this time around which should reduce the margin of victory but the Germans should still take care of business and all but book their spot in the knockout stages.
Look for another fast start from the European side as they find a way to record another convincing victory.
Germany Halftime/Fulltime @ $1.75
Costa Rica vs Zambia
Monday 31 July, 5:00pm, Waikato Stadium
Little more than pride is on the line between Costa Rica and Zambia in the final match of the tournament for both of these sides.
One of the few groups that has followed a somewhat predictable path so far, Costa Rica has conceded five goals in their two defeats while Zambia has shipped ten.
Neither team has managed to trouble the scorers, but this will also be the first time they have faced an opponent close to their level.
Defensively both are quite suspect and there should be a few goals scored here.
Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.70
Japan vs Spain
Monday 31 July, 5:00pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
Japan has been very impressive so far, starting off with a massive win over Zambia before comfortably accounting for Costa Rica.
Spain will provide a much sterner test as they have gone through two games with two impressive performances, justifying their status as proper contenders.
With a draw set to be enough for Spain to top the group, they can go into the match with a little margin for error whereas the Japanese team has to win if they want to pip them at the post.
That will play into the hands of a Spanish side that is going to want to go into the knockout phase on the winning note.
Spain to Win @ $1.92
Ireland vs Nigeria
Monday 31 July, 8:00pm, Lang Park
Just about every Australian will have one eye on the events unfolding at Lang Park on Monday night in the “other” Group B fixture.
For Nigeria it’s a simple equation, win and they are through to the knockout stage regardless of what happens in Melbourne.
Draw or lose and they will need some help, which means the Aussies in the crowd will be frantically searching for some distant Irish heritage to claim for 90 minutes.
With the way the Nigerians have looked so far, they are looking too good to back against, but there is always the chance the pressure of the moment gets to them.
One way or another they need goals and we should see the over hit in this one with Ireland trying to play spoiler.
Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.87
Canada vs Australia
Monday 31 July, 8:00pm, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
It is going to be a very nervous night in Melbourne if you are wearing green and gold, with the Aussies staring down the barrel of an early exit from their home World Cup.
Canada is not in a position to roll over however, needing at least a draw to ensure their passage to the knockout phase as well.
Australia does not have the margin for error, a draw means they need Nigeria to lose by two or more goals or if they lose by one, score more goals than them.
It’s the ultimate head or heart conundrum, any local fan will want Australia to win to set up a tantalising Round of 16 fixture, but their performances so far have not been convincing in the least.
Bottom line here, it’s too hard to choose between the head and the heart, but with both teams needing to score, especially Australia, there is value to be found on the totals market.
Over 2.5 Goals @ $2.15
Vietnam vs Netherlands
Tuesday 1 August, 5:00pm, Dunedin Stadium
Vietnam 0 – Netherlands 7
The Dutch are not officially through to the knockout phase of the World Cup, but it will be a massive shock if they don’t progress against a Vietnam side they are much better than.
Not only do they need to win to ensure they will go through, but they need to chase down a two goal deficit in the goal difference column.
Overturning that would give them top spot in the group and the USA have a much tougher assignment against Portugal so it is certainly doable.
This is a Dutch team capable of scoring as many as they need to and they will want to give themselves every chance of setting up an ideal path to the final.
Netherlands to Win -3 Goals @ $1.75
Portugal vs USA
Tuesday 1 August, 5:00pm, Eden Park
In the footballing multiverse, there is a scenario where the Portuguese side pull off an all-time upset and knock out the reigning champions.
After a win over Vietnam the Portuguese have at least given themselves a chance of springing said upset but let’s be honest, you’re not backing against the Americans in this tournament (yet).
They need to win and win convincingly to see off the Dutch and keep the tournament organisers happy with the group winner set for a Round of 16 tie that just so happens to kick off in prime time for the American tv viewers.
That means they have to score and ensure that the goal difference stays in their favour which is why there is a decent bit of value available for the overs in the double market.
USA to Win and Over 2.5 Goals @ $2.00
Haiti vs Denmark
Tuesday 1 August, 9:00pm, Perth Rectangular Stadium
Group D has been a remarkably low scoring one so far with the four teams combining for just four goals per fixture.
That is in large part thanks to the desperate defending of teams like Haiti who might not have picked up any points so far but have surprised plenty.
Best case scenario for them they score first and hold on for a huge victory but the more likely scenario is that they follow the same formula of their first two games.
Look for them to hold on admirably but ultimately fall short as Denmark does enough to get themselves into the Round of 16 and set up a date with the winner of Group B.
Not that there’s a lot of value there, but with unders hitting in every Group D fixture so far, that’s the trend to back here.
Under 2.5 Goals @ $1.92
China vs England
Tuesday 1 August, 9:00pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
With Denmark in action against Haiti, reigning Asian champions China have to get all three points against England to give themselves a shot of advancing.
However England is just too good to roll over and suffer a much earlier exit than expected, and despite the injury suffered by midfielder Kiera Walsh, they still have a dynamic team at their disposal.
Lauren James came in for the Denmark game and gave the English team a real spark and she looms as a key figure here.
China will give England another stern test but they know how to grind out wins in situations like this and the English will do enough to advance.
England to Win and Under 3.5 Goals @ $1.95
South Africa vs Italy
Wednesday 2 August, 5:00pm, Wellington Regional Stadium
Italy has a simple situation as they prepare for their Matchday 3 encounter, if they win, they are through.
A draw could be enough as long as Argentina does not win their match, however it won’t be an easy assignment given they are coming off the back of an absolute humiliation at the hands of Sweden in their last match.
South Africa won’t make life easy, but they are coming off their own frustrating result, blowing a 2-0 lead over Argentina and being forced to settle for a point.
Backing both teams to score has not been a profitable strategy in this World Cup, but it has hit in both of South Africa’s matches so far.
This has the makings of a match with plenty of goals with both sides looking to chase a result that will ensure their stay in Australia is extended.
Both Teams to Score @ $1.83
Argentina vs Sweden
Wednesday 2 August, 5:00pm, Waikato Stadium
Sweden is through to the knockout phase after two matches and barring a historic goal difference turnaround, they are going to finish on top of Group G.
Thanks to their 5-0 demolition of Italy, the only team that can draw level with them on points, the Swedes have an advantage of 10 in the goal difference column.
Which means Argentina might be a sneaky chance of pinching a result if Swedish coach Peter Gerhadsson opts to rotate some of his players.
Admittedly the Argentines need a bit of help from the other Group G fixture but they have nothing to lose and are going to have to go on the attack.
Backing the overs has hit in both of Sweden’s matches and Argentina’s 2-2 draw with South Africa, so that looks like the way to go for this one.
Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.88
Jamaica vs Brazil
Wednesday 2 August, 8:00pm, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Four days after going down in an epic game against France, the Brazilians will have to refocus and ensure that they are ready to take care of business against a Jamaican outfit that has proven to be a tough out so far.
A draw would be enough for Jamaica to advance, likely at the expense of the Brazilians, however they just don’t seem to have the firepower to match a Brazilian team that has some of the game’s best attackers at their disposal.
Jamaica’s super stingy defence is yet to concede a goal in the tournament, but it looks like that is going to come to an end in this one.
Even with Brazil likely dominating possession and creating the majority of scoring chances, it might not be the blowout some will be expecting.
Brazil to Win and Under 3.5 Goals @ $1.85
Panama vs France
Wednesday 2 August, 8:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium
Panama’s coach might be planning to instruct his team to play as though they can still qualify, it probably won’t make much difference against France.
All it took was a date with Brazil to bring Les Bleus to life in Australia, with easily their best performance earning them a huge three points, with captain Wendie Renard coming up big with a clutch goal.
A win would ensure they finish on top of the group, not that there is much difference with a tough Round of 16 opponent from Group H awaiting them wherever they end up.
We have already seen Panama get blown out once this tournament and it would not be a surprise to see that happen again.
France to Win -3 Goals @ $1.91
Morocco vs Colombia
Thursday 3 August, 8:00pm, Perth Rectangular Stadium
Despite a win over South Korea on Matchday 2, the Moroccans need a minor miracle to find a way out of Group H thanks to a first up belting at the hands of Germany.
Chances are this is going to follow a similar pattern to Morocco’s first match with Colombia wanting to ensure there are no slip ups heading into the Round of 16.
We saw just how good Colombia can be, battling to a very important 2-1 win over Germany on the back of teen sensation Linda Caicedo and I’m expecting the South Americans to put on a show.
Colombia HT/FT Double @ $2.35
South Korea vs Germany
Thursday 3 August, 8:00pm, Lang Park
South Korea 1 – Germany 1
Considering South Korea have lost both of their Group Stage matches without scoring a goal, it’s a bit of a surprise to see this price on offer for Germany to win and keep a clean sheet in the process.
The Germans showed no mercy on Morocco first up but left themselves with some work to do here thanks to a surprising defeat at the hands of Colombia on the weekend.
After that wake up call, I’m expecting the Germans to come out firing and ensure that they are heading in to the Round of 16 in the best form possible.
Germany to Win to Nil @ $1.75
W57 vs W58
Tuesday 15 August, 6:00pm, Eden Park
W59 vs W60
Wednesday 16 August, 8:00pm, Stadium Australia
THIRD PLACED PLAYOFF
L61 vs L62
Saturday 19 August, 6:00pm, Lang Park
W61 vs W62
Sunday 20 August, 8:00pm, Stadium Australia