After progressing from their Women’s World Cup group with an unblemished record, England now face Cameroon in the last 16 at the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes (4.30pm Sunday, live on BBC TV).
England’s 2-0 win over Japan on Wednesday added to their earlier triumphs over Scotland and Argentina and saw them advance to the knockout rounds as the winners of Group D, with nine points from three matches, with five goals scored and just one conceded.
By the FIFA rankings, Japan were by far England’s toughest opponents in the group, but after one-goal wins in their opening two matches, Phil Neville’s side made lighter work of the seventh-ranked side. Georgia Stanway slipped in Ellen White to give them an early lead, and then White struck again late on from Karen Carney’s pass.
They were both assured finishes, and that was, in truth, the difference between the sides. Japan put England under solid pressure and created a few presentable chances. Karen Bardsley made a spectacular diving save from an early long-range free-kick. A starting XI that featured eight changes from the win over Argentina struggled to connect at times.
The clear disparities in terms of quality and resources on display during the group stage of this tournament make it hard to get a good reading on the relative strengths and weaknesses of many of the teams who are considered among the favourites to go all the way. About all that can be said of England so far is that they look pretty good at both ends of the pitch.
After the win over Japan, Neville was quick to reaffirm his confidence in England’s attacking, possession-based style, despite some of the gaps that opened up in the second half on Wednesday against the strongest opposition they have faced to date. “The style is non-negotiable however far we go,” he said. “We are where we want to be: in the last 16, ready to attack the business end of the tournament.”
Coming into the Women’s World Cup, only three teams ranked above England in the major bookmakers’ list of favourites to lift the trophy and that is still the case now. Hosts France and holders United States remain at the top of the betting, with Germany third and England fourth. One American statistics website gives England a nine percent chance of winning it, slightly less than their current bookmaker odds would imply.
By topping their group, England guaranteed that they would face one of the best third-placed teams in the last 16. The result is an encounter with a Cameroon side who have matched their debut showing in Canada four years ago by again making the knockout stage, but who are by FIFA’s rankings, the worst team still left in the competition.
That might not be entirely fair, especially as Cameroon confirmed their progression with victory over a New Zealand side ranked 19th in the world. Cameroon took the lead just before the hour through Ajara Nchout. Then, after Aurelle Awona’s own goal seemed to have ended their hopes of advancing, Nchout zigzagged her way into the area before aiming a calm finish past the goalkeeper to score the winning goal with the last kick of the game.
The result was no fluke. Cameroon comfortably outshot New Zealand and created the game’s best chances. Their recent results against teams further up the rankings suggest England may be a step too far for them. Since qualifying, they have lost all five of their matches against top 16 teams, including defeats at this tournament to Canada and the Netherlands, by a combined score of 18-1.
Our Preview’s England Women vs Cameroon Betting Tips Verdict
England are the clear favourites for Sunday’s match at betting odds of around 1/8 with most layers. Backing England to win both halves offers better odds, so the betting tips for this England vs Cameroon preview are:
- Bet on England to win both halves @ best odds of 11/10 with Betfair.
Compare England vs Cameroon Women World Cup Match Betting Odds