Australia Australia vs. Norway Norway

Wednesday, July 6th 2011, 18.15 CET

The clash between Australia and Norway on Wednesday in Leverkusen will be decisive for establishing the runner-up in Group D at FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011. It’s a huge opportunity for noth Australia and Norway! Australia just needs a draw in this one, while Norway has to win in order to secure a quarter final spot. They come after very different results, but they’re after the same goal on Wednesday.

Australia has been improving a lot since their performance in China during the last edition of Women’s World Cup. They made an extraordinary game against Equatorial Guinea last week, winning the match 3 to 2, and clearly dominating every aspect of the play. Once again, as it happened in Men’s World Cup 2006, Australia was let down by the referee. But this time the error was way more obvious than in 2006: Gyoengyi Gaal of Equatorial Guinea held the ball for about 2 seconds before dropping it for the keeper. The Hungarian referee did nothing! Nevertheless, they won that game beautifully. And before that they gave Brazil a hard time, losing 1-0 in the end.

Norway, on the other hand, comes after a mind-blowing 3-0 defeat against Brazil on Sunday. Nevertheless, the North Europeans surprisingly and aggressively dominated the first 20 minutes or so of the game. The Brazilians didn’t expect this and were confused and uncomfortable with defending. Then came Marta, scored once and in the end she managed to turn the game around in Brazil’s favour. Don’t forget though, the Norwegian girls won the cup in 1995, and they’re regulars to the Women’s World Cup championships. They’ve showed what they’re capable of strategy-wise, but in every game so far (especially the first against Equatorial Guinea), they missed the final touch or a glimpse of luck with most of their goal opportunities.

The Matildas met the Norwegians in the previous edition, in China. Back then the group game ended 1-1 and the Matildas went on to the quarter finals, only to be smashed by Brazil. Now, should they go on, they will face either Sweden or the USA, two of the best teams in the tournament so far. One step at a time, girls, and you may make it!

The bookies give Norway the first chance in this game, rating them at 2.35, while Australia has 2.9 odds and 3.2 odds for a draw. I’d say the price on Australia is definitely worth going for, considering their high morale and great shape! Remember, Norway struggled a lot against Equatorial Guinea and lost massively against Brazil. Australia did better in either of those games, and now with a better momentum they definitely have what it takes to go through the next round. My football tip or soccer tip for you Aussies is to go with Australia! My prediction is that they’ll win 2-1 or even 3-2 (although unlikely), with the victory goal coming towards the end. The Norwegians cannot handle pressure that well, and if they’re put off with a goal right from the beginning, they may eventually equalize, but in the end Australia will have what it takes to score again. 2-1. I’m betting 2 units on an Australian victory!

Prediction: Australia to win for 2 units.

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