Forgive us for the condensed recap of Days 7, 8, and 9! We all had a busy weekend.
Japan 2-1 Scotland
This one was bookended by nearly identical, gorgeous long-distance goals. Japan got on the board first thanks to a strike from outside the 18-yard box by Mana Iwabuchi. It was straight down the middle, but top shelf and out of the reach of Scotland goalie Lee Alexander.
Japan extended their lead on a penalty kick from Yuika Sugasawa. Scotland cut it in half with a goal from substitute Lana Clelland, who picked up an errant Japanese pass and quickly turned to deliver a strike from above the top of the box.
Italy 5-0 Jamaica
Italy really controlled this one from start to finish. Christiana Girelli netted a natural hat trick, potting Italy's first three goals. Aurora Galli followed up with two of the prettier goals so far. Her first was perhaps the best true strike I've seen and the second was a through ball into the box that she took one touch to beat the keeper and then slotted it home. Italy advances to the next round.
England 1-0 Argentina
At age 35, Argentina goalie Vanina Correa is one of the older players in the tournament, but she showed that time has not slowed her reflexes as she made save after spectacular save in this one. She stopped a Nikita Parris penalty kick as well as several point blank shots throughout the game.
The Lionesses booked their trip to the next round thanks to a goal by Jodie Taylor midway through the second half. Beth Mead's cross just past the dive of Correa and Taylor slid between two defenders and wide open at the back post to give England the 1-0 win.
Netherlands 3-1 Cameroon
There was so much orange. Credit to the Dutch fans, who showed out for their women in France.
Gabrielle Onguéné was a major playmaker for Cameroon, showcasing speed and a great instinct on the breakaway. Netherlands scored first on a diving header from Vivianne Miedema, but the Indomitable Lionesses responded quickly. Raissa Feudjio dropped a great ball over the heads of the Dutch backfield and Onguéné ran on, heading the ball past the charging goalie and was able to tap it home.
Dominique Bloodworth made it 2-1 Netherlands when she put in a rebound from close range. Onguéné dribbled around some Dutch defenders and fed Henriette Akaba in front of the net, but her shot at equalizing it was just deflected wide.
Miedema became Holland's all-time leading scorer with her 60th goal on a screamer of a shot from just inside the 18-yard box to ensure the win and advancement to the knockout rounds for the Netherlands.
Canada 2-0 New Zealand
Nichelle Prince was all over the field and her goal and assist led the Canadians to the Round of 16. She seemed to be involved in every dangerous play and her speed was on display multiple times throughout the course of play.
This game featured one of the more fun sequences of the tournament so far, involving five headers in a row, interrupted only by a knock to the cross bar. No goal ensured, but it was such good chaos for a few moments.
The first goal came just before half on a nice breakout play where Janine Beckie sent a long ball up the left side that Prince was able to run on to. She cut in to the box and found Jessie Fleming who easily scored. It was quick and clean and really gorgeous.
Prince scored the second goal after a Christine Sinclair header went off the left post and rebounded right to her.
Sweden 5-1 Thailand
Sweden played the clean, tight game they wanted to here. The first goal came five minutes into the game and they didn't really let up. They scored twice via headers from a crossing ball, once on heck of a strike from the top of the box and once on a late penalty. They second goal came showed why you don't give up or back down on a shot and ball in the box, as Kosovare Asllani chased down a ball at the touchline, dribbled around a defender and tucked one into the net. With the win, Sweden advanced to the Round of 16.
Thailand stole quite a bit of the thunder, however, when they scored on a beauty of a play a minute into stoppage time in the second half. A quick transition from their own end saw Taneekarn Dangda send a long pass up the right side to Kanjana Sungngoen who took off from just behind the half line and needed just three touches to beat her defender and then Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
The images of team manager and financial backer Nualphan Lamsam celebrating crying on the sidelines will be one of the enduring ones from this World Cup.
United State 3-0 Chile
It was only a day ago and the only thing I can remember is how amazing Chile goalie Christiane Endler played. The score would have been much more lopsided without her acrobatics in net. In the run of play, she was impressive, but as stat information and slow motion replays came out, it was fascinating to see how really good she was, making very low-probability saves, adjusting herself mid-play and displaying some of the quickest reflexes you'll ever see.
I don't know what it's like to be six feet tall, but her long limbs looked like they probably took awhile to get used to. Her control over every bit of her body, as well as her ability to change her path of motion at a split-second's notice was fascinating to watch. She put on a masterclass and I'm so excited so many people got a chance to see it.
As for the US: yes, they were shut down a bit by Endler, but there should be at least a little bit of concern that their goals were all on set pieces. Chile packed in on defense and really stymied the American attack quite a bit. The goals were pretty and the Americans are through the to knockout round, which is really all that matters.
Besides Endler, the lasting impression from this game for me is the controlled touches and strikes by the Americans. Carli Lloyd's first goal, Julie Ertz's header for the second goal, Christen Press' volley that Endler stopped – they were masterful and just some of the prettiest football we've seen yet.