Women's World Cup: Potential U.S. knockout round opponents

A look at the teams the U.S. might play in the round of 16 at the women's World Cup next week

The U.S. advanced to the knockout round of the women's World Cup on Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria to secure the top spot in Group D. The team will find out who it will play in the second round after Wednesday's final four group matches are decided.

Here's a rundown of the seven teams the U.S. likely could play in its knockout round opener Monday.

Colombia

Arguably the biggest surprise of the tournament, Colombia will probably be playing the U.S. next week, unless it can beat England on Wednesday, which is very possible. Colombia's 2-0 victory over France last week proved it's no pushover, and that's why it sits at the top of the Group F standings. A win over England would avoid a U.S. matchup, but a loss could set up what would be a tough game for the Americans.

England

Should Colombia beat England, St. George's Cross could be featured prominently among the fans in Edmonton for the Americans' round-of-16 opener. England looked out of its element in a 1-0 loss to France, being outshot, 21-3. It bounced back nicely against Mexico, but can't afford a lackluster effort against Colombia if it wants to avoid a tough matchup against the U.S. A draw or loss to Colombia likely would mean the Americans are next.

Costa Rica

Another surprise team, Costa Rica could advance out of Group E if it manages to put in a decent showing against powerhouse Brazil. Costa Rica has played to draws against South Korea and Spain, and one more draw would probably be enough for it to advance to a potential match against the U.S. Brazil reportedly will be resting several starters against Costa Rica, which should make the job a bit easier.

Spain

Still looking for its first win after tying Costa Rica in its opener and falling to Brazil, 1-0, Spain would probably advance to the next round with a win over South Korea. Spain is the slight favorite in the match and, depending on how well it does in a win, might be able to avoid playing the U.S. next. A draw would eliminate both Spain and South Korea.

South Korea

South Korea probably would make the round of 16 with a win over Spain, and could avoid the U.S. depending on how well Costa Rica performs against Brazil. South Korea fell to Brazil, 2-0, in its opener before playing to a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica.

France

One of the favorites to win the World Cup after entering the tournament ranked No. 3 in the world, France is looking to bounce back from a shocking 2-0 loss to Colombia. France should beat Mexico in their group finale Wednesday, which would guarantee the French a spot in the next round. France also would probably avoid playing the U.S. on Monday.

Thailand

Thailand finished third in Group B play but still has a slim chance to advance, and possibly play the U.S. next. Australia's draw with Sweden helped a little (an Australia win would have been better) and an expected Brazil victory over Costa Rica would help. Whether it'll be enough to keep Thailand in Canada for another week remains to be seen.

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