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Monday, July 4, 2011
Women's World Cup scenarios


As we head into the final two days of the opening rounds of the 2011 Women's World Cup, all but two quarterfinal spots have been wrapped up, although seeding in the quarterfinals is still very much up in the air.

Here's how it all shakes out.

In Group A, France and Germany meet Tuesday in Monchengladbach to determine the winner of the group. Both teams are through to the quarterfinals no matter the result. France, by virtue of its 4-0 thrashing of Canada, needs only a draw to win the group. In front of what should be another sellout home crowd, Germany will most definitely want a win over its historical rival to win the group as the host nation. It also would prove that its two less-than-spectacular performances against Canada and Nigeria are not indicative of larger troubles.

In Group B, Japan and England meet Tuesday as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, respectively, in the group. Whichever team wins will finish in first place. Japan is through to the quarterfinals, while England will more than likely advance. Mexico, in third place in the group, still has an outside shot to finish ahead of England if the Three Lionesses lose but would need to make up a five-goal difference in goal differential. Finishing first in the group to avoid facing Germany in the quarterfinals likely had been a goal for all teams in this group, but with the Japan-England kickoff scheduled before France-Germany, they won't know which teams will be their quarterfinal opponents.

In Group C, the United States needs only a tie with Sweden on Wednesday to clinch the first spot and most likely avoid facing Brazil, the likely winner of Group D, in the quarterfinals. Both the U.S. and Sweden have clinched their spots in the next round.

In Group D, Brazil is moving on to the quarterfinals. It has all but wrapped up first place and can seal it with a win or tie versus Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday. Australia and Norway will meet for the final spot in the quarterfinals. After Brazil's 3-0 romp over Norway, Australia needs just a draw to advance. Norway can advance only by beating Australia.

Quarterfinals:

July 9: Group A winner vs. No. 2 in Group B and Group B winner vs. No. 2 in Group A.

July 10: Group C winner vs. No. 2 in Group D and Group D winner vs. No. 2 in Group C.