England’s Ellen White scored two goals to lift the Three Lionesses past Japan, 2-0, in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Nice, France, on Wednesday.
England’s victory meant topping Group D as the tournament heads toward the knockout stage beginning this weekend.
So what does it have to do with the United States Women’s National Team?
Well, England’s win means placement on Team USA’s half of the knockout bracket, provided the U.S. garners at least a draw against Sweden in its final group stage match on Thursday.
Should Team USA win or draw against Sweden, then the Americans will top Group F and a stacked top half of the knockout bracket awaits.
Norway and Australia are already scheduled for the Round of 16 in Nice on Saturday. England plays a to be determined third-place finisher in Valenciennes on Sunday. Tournament host France also gets a third-place finisher yet to be determined on Sunday, while the U.S. would play Spain in Reims on Monday if it doesn’t lose to Sweden.
Those four matches would boast four of the top six teams in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. And Norway and Spain are ranked 12th and 13th in the world, respectively. Meanwhile, the bottom half is only assured of three teams in the top seven. Throw in the Netherlands and it’s four in the top eight.
The top half would be more stacked, according to the world rankings. Team USA could potentially play France in Paris in a quarterfinal, while there is potential for facing a top six-ranked team in England or Australia in a semifinal.