The Matildas will play France on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup after Les Bleues crushed Morocco 4-0 on Tuesday night in a major statement. France scored three goals in eight minutes in the first half as they dominated from start to finish to advance to a blockbuster showdown with Australia.
Veteran striker Eugenie Le Sommer scored either side of half-time, while Kadidiatou Diani scored the opening goal and supplied two assists. Speaking after the match, midfielder Kenza Dali said her side were ready for a hostile reception when they tackle the Matildas on Saturday in Brisbane.
'EXPLOITING THE RULES': Matildas move called into question
'COULDN'T BELIEVE IT': Woman caught in bizarre act at Matildas game
"The crowd is going to be against us," Dali said. "I feel like this World Cup everywhere we played the crowd was against us and at the moment it's good (preparation) for us, so it's up to us to handle the pressure (against Australia)."
Dali, who scored France's second goal, said she'd kept a close eye on Australia's 2-0 victory over Denmark on Monday in the round of 16. The 32-year-old said her side weren't concerned about their 1-0 loss to the Matildas in a pre-tournament friendly.
"When we played this game, we were still in preparation, even Australia; it's going to be a completely different game Saturday night," she said. "It (Australia) is a fantastic team and they play with a lot of freedom. They look like they really enjoyed it and they handled the pressure well.
"They played really good football as well and scored amazing goals. I think Caitlin Foord is the best player at the moment; she has been unbelievable and it's going to be great."
Dali said France would be on high alert for Sam Kerr, who played her first minutes of the World Cup against Denmark. Kerr played in the pre-tournament friendly before injuring her calf before the opening group game.
"I think she's a great player and I hope for her, she's going to play," Dali said. "It must have been really sad and frustrating for her to watch from the side. I do believe she's prepared herself for us and she's going to be there, I'm a hundred per cent sure."
Important for Australians to watch.
In less than the first 25mins of play now, France storm ahead with 3 goals against Morocco.
The winner of France vs Morocco will play Australia next. France look formidable. #fifawwc #matildas #france #morocco https://t.co/jwe98U84Qy
— Anth W. 🌏 (anth0888 on 🧵's) (@anth0888) August 8, 2023
That's a brutal dominance from France! Unbelievable!
It looks Morocco didn't come to the game even. What will happen in the second half?
Either Morocco will dare for a miracle, or France will traumatise the Atlas Lionesses more and more.#FRAMAR #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/dVsTwjCcVr
— Abubaker Abed (@AbubakerAbedW) August 8, 2023
— Anish Sahadevan (@scorpiosaurus) August 8, 2023
France it is for the Matildas in the quarter finals.
Brisbane, bring the noise! Matildas are going to need it!
— .\nthony Vescio (@vesh88) August 8, 2023
Ruthless France punch their way into the last 8 of the #WomensWorldCup
An England vs France semi would be so tasty. But I'm going France vs. Japan in The Finals.
LETS GOOOOOO!!!! #FIFAWomensWorldCup2023 #wwc2023 pic.twitter.com/kefY8Wg6RU
— Sweet'nSourScouser (@chairmanquan) August 8, 2023
In the earlier round of 16 match on Tuesday, Colombia advanced to their first-ever quarter-final after downing Jamaica 1-0. In just their third appearance at a Women's World Cup, the World No.26-ranked Colombians are into the final eight along with heavyweights England and Spain.
Colombian captain Catalina Usme broke the deadlock in the 51st minute on Tuesday night to send the 27,706 fans at AAMI Park into delirium. The crowd support rested solely with Colombia, producing one of the loudest and most raucous atmospheres at a game in this year's World Cup so far.
Colombia will play Euro champions England at Stadium Australia on Saturday night for a place in the semis. "We came here to play seven finals," Colombian captain Catalina Usme said. "We're dreaming big, we know we can do it."
The result was bittersweet for Jamaica, who made the knockout stages in just their second appearance in a World Cup. They were forced into starting a GoFundMe page to fund their trip to Australia.
"We have some decent young players coming through so we need to have a transition and start preparing for the future - tomorrow," Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson said. "Maybe with some help from the (Jamaican) government, even though FIFA and government don't really mix. We need to figure something out."
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) August 8, 2023
THE CROWD GOES BALLISTIC AS COLOMBIA SCORES AND HOLY HELL ITS LOUD IN HERE!!! #FIFAWWC
— Wil Stracke (@WilStracke) August 8, 2023
— Joey Lynch (@joeylynchy) August 8, 2023
— Franny Teh (@frannyteh) August 8, 2023
Women's World Cup quarter-finals:
Spain v Netherlands - Friday 11am
Japan v Sweden - Friday 5.30pm
Australia v France - Saturday 5pm
England v Colombia - Saturday 8.30pm
* all times AEST
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.