A former World Cup winner and a team on the rise will meet in one of the first matches of the knockout round when Norway and Australia clash in their Round of 16 match on Saturday in Nice. The winner of this game will face the winner of England and Cameroon in Le Havre on June 27. Australia are slight favorites ahead of this match, but Norway are a dangerous team and proved it with their play in Group A.
Norway vs. Australia
- Date and Time: June 22, 2019, 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Allianz Riviera, Nice, France
- US Television Coverage: FOX
- Betting Line: Australia PK and -0.5, O/U 3
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These teams met at the 2018 Algarve Cup in Portugal, and their clash was a high-scoring thriller. Norway and Australia combined for seven goals, and the Matildas ended up clipping Norway at the end with a Larissa Crummer goal in the fifth minute of extra time for a 4-3 win.
Norway began the World Cup on the right foot. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half against Nigeria before shutting it down and salting the game away. The Grasshoppers were a decent-sized underdog against France in their next match, but they came close to getting a result. Norway held the ball more than their opponent, but a penalty kick cost them a chance at a draw.
That loss meant Norway needed to pick up three points against South Korea in their final match of the Group Stage to finish second in Group A. Norway slotted home penalties shortly after the start of the first and second half, and their victory looked assured for most of the match. However, they had to survive a charge from South Korea late to earn a 2-1 win.
Before the World Cup kicked off, Australia were the favorites to win Group C. However, they were upset by Italy in their very first match and needed to win their last two matches to finish second in Group C.
That looked like a very difficult task after Brazil jumped ahead of Australia 2-0 in the second match, but the Aussies notched a goal to halve the lead right before the halftime whistle and rallied in the second half to win 3-2. The Matildas faced Jamaica in their last match of the Group Stage, and that outcome was never in doubt. Sam Kerr scored all four of Australia’s goals in a 4-1 victory.
Norway Player to Watch
The leading scorer on Norway is Isabell Herlovsen. She has been the No. 9 that the Grasshoppers have needed the last couple years, and she has great instincts. Herlovsen knows how to put herself in great spots, and that will be key for Norway here.
Australia Player to Watch
Sam Kerr is just 25, but she has already had an incredible career. She has notched five goals at this World Cup, and she is the all-time leading scorer in the NWSL. Kerr is dangerous with the ball in any situation, which is something that Jamaica found out the hard way. Her ability to shake off defenders and create shooting space makes here very difficult to stop for a full 90 minutes.
Norway vs. Australia Free Picks
I think Norway’s back line will be prepared for Kerr and Australia. The Grasshoppers have looked very solid to me, and they haven’t had the hiccups that Australia has experienced during this competition. I’ll call for them to pull off the upset and advance to the quarterfinals.
Norway vs. Australia Prediction: Norway 2, Australia 1
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