Matildas' next World Cup opponents locked in as USA blasted over celebrations

Australia have learned who they will play in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup amid drama engulfing the US team.

The Matildas and USA at the Women's World Cup.
The Matildas have learned their opponents for the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup, while the USA were slammed for their celebrations. Image: Getty

The Matildas will play Denmark in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup next Monday after the Danes beat a brave Haiti 2-0 in Perth on Tuesday night. A first-half penalty from captain Pernille Harder and a fine strike by Sanne Troelsgaard at the death were enough to secure the three points for Denmark in front of 17,897 fans.

England also thrashed China 6-1 in Adelaide, finishing top of Group D. It means Denmark finish runners-up in group D and will now take on the World No.10 Matildas in Sydney next Monday.

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It marks the first time Denmark have made it past the group stage at a World Cup since reaching the quarter-finals in 1995. "I'm so proud of the girls that we made it through from the group stages," Harder said. "It's a long time since the Danish team did that in a World Cup. We are excited for the next game."

The Matildas finished top of Group B after their 4-0 thrashing of Canada and will now take on the Group D runners-up. Denmark coach Lars Sondergaard said he's confident his team boast the weapons to beat a Matildas side boosted by the likely return of Sam Kerr.

Kerr didn't play in any of Australia's three group games due to a calf injury, but has six days to get it right before the do-or-die clash with Denmark. "She can score goals, she has a fantastic header, she's quick ... she is perhaps the best striker in the world," Sondergaard said.

"Of course you have to have an eye on her - if she's fit of course. We have played Australia twice in the last couple of years, and Sam Kerr played in both of those games.

"So we know how to deal with her. Even though it's difficult, we know how she plays. We know she can be out of a game and then suddenly she's in the right place at the right moment. If she gets chances like some of the Haitian players got today, I think she probably would score."

Denmark players celebrate at the Women's World Cup.
Denmark players celebrate after advancing to the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup. (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) (FIFA via Getty Images)

USA blasted over celebrations after 0-0 draw

Meanwhile, World Cup-winning American legend Carli Lloyd has lashed the current United States team after they scraped through with a lifeless 0-0 draw against Portugal. The reigning champions were centimetres away from disaster in Auckland on Tuesday night, with Ana Capeta's shot smashing against the goalpost and rebounding clear when a goal would have ended the Americans' campaign.

The four-time champions limped through to the knockout rounds in second place in Group E, just ahead of Portugal in their first World Cup appearance. A win for Portugal would have sent the USA packing.

Lloyd couldn't hide her contempt as she watched the American players dancing and enjoying their progression with fans at Eden Park. "I have never witnessed something like that. There's a difference between being respectful of the fans and saying hello to your family, but to be dancing and smiling..," she said.

"The player of the match was that post. They are lucky to not be going home right now. Today was just simply uninspiring, disappointing. They don't look fit. They're playing as individuals and the tactics are just too predictable."

USA coach Vlatko Andonovski, already a maligned figure in America, has asked fans for patience as the side goes through a transition phase. While he was happy to admit a poor performance against Portugal, he wouldn't stomach criticism from pundits suggesting his players weren't hungry enough.

"It's a fairly new team ... they haven't been together for a long time and they just miss each other on whether it's a pass or a through ball or a cross," he said. "I don't think that was a good performance altogether. I don't think we were able to solve the problems the opponents were presenting. Hopefully we can synchronise and get the lines in sync."

He added: "This team wanted to win this game more than anything else. To question the mentality of this team, to question the willingness to win, to compete, it's insane. I've never seen this team step on the field and not try hard to compete."

with AAP

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