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US to Play England in Women's World Cup Quarterfinals

The 16-nation Women's World Cup football (soccer) tournament is now down to eight teams. VOA's Jim Stevenson has this preview of a quarterfinal meeting Saturday between heavily favored United States and England.

The two nations have never met before in the Women's World Cup. But they are familiar with each other.

England and the United States have met nine times in friendly matches. The Americans have the better record with six wins, one draw and two defeats. England has not beaten the U.S. women since 1988 (2-0).

U.S. coach Greg Ryan says the strength of the English team goes well beyond the talent shown on the field.

"The discipline that you see in the players, I think that is a real quality you associate with English teams, great discipline and organization," he said. "And I think you see that very clearly in this team. And there are not a lot of chinks in the armor. Collectively, they play both sides of the ball very well. They attack well. They defend well. And they are good on their set pieces."

U.S. forward Heather O'Reilly has playing experience with some of England's team members when they were together at the University of North Carolina. She describes some of the tactics the U.S. women can expect to see in Tianjin, especially from one potentially dangerous English midfielder.

"Rachel Yankee has a very unique style of playing," she noted. "She was so much fun to play with. I think she played left midfield for us. And so as a forward, it was great because she would slice and dice on the wing and then get it (the ball) in to me. So we have to beware of that I guess on Saturday."

Also Saturday, defending champion Germany plays North Korea in Wuhan. The only previous meeting between the two national teams was at the FIFA Under-age-20 Women's World Championship in 2006. The North Koreans scored a 2-0 first round victory before going on to clinch the title.

But Germany has a perfect record against Asian teams at the FIFA Women's World Cup, with five wins coming from ten goals and none conceded. And for the second time in its history, Germany has ended the first phase of the tournament without allowing a goal.

The other two quarterfinals are on Sunday. Brazil will play Australia and host China will take on Norway.