LE HAVRE, France — Even Netherlands forward Lineth Beerensteyn had to check that the number was right.

“Oh my God – seven,” she exclaimed. “That’s a lot.”

Europe sure is dominating this Women’s World Cup.

The Netherlands made it a record seven European teams in the quarterfinals by knocking out Japan, which won the tournament in 2011 and reached the final four years ago.

Never before in the previous seven editions had an Asian team missed out on making the last eight. Only the United States’ victory over Spain prevented a clean sweep by European teams in the round of 16, and the defending champions now have to face host France on Friday.

“Sometimes it kind of feels like a Euros,” Netherlands forward Vivianne Miedema said. “America is amazing.”


The compliment isn’t being returned by U.S. forward Tobin Heath.

“As a football fan, to me I would want a little bit more diversity at this point,” Heath said. “I find European football is sometimes a little boring and I think that there’s some teams that are so exciting to watch, that you won’t be able to see this kind of different style, which is unfortunate at this stage because I appreciate certain teams that are no longer in the tournament.”

There is a freshness to the field, however. The Dutch are in the quarterfinals for the first time in only their second appearance to the tournament. Italy, their opponent on Saturday, is in the quarterfinals for the first time since the first tournament in 1991.

The round opens with Norway playing England, which finished third in 2015, and wraps up Saturday night with two-time champion Germany taking on Sweden.

Investment domestically is raising standards for players, aiding Europe’s control of the international game.

“The biggest example is Italy,” Miedema said. “They put a lot of money into Juventus and in a couple of other clubs. You see it directly on the World Cup.”


All but one of the Italian players plays at home, with eight playing on the Serie A-winning Juventus squad.

“Once the league in your country is really strong then you know your national team is going to become better as well,” Miedema said. “It’s only going to become bigger.”

VIDEO REVIEW has created confusion and brought questions at the Women’s World Cup.

The Video Assistant Referee, or VAR, was integrated into the men’s World Cup in Russia last year, leading to calls for it to also be used for the women’s tournament in France. But it certainly hasn’t gone as smoothly as it did for the men.

VAR has already led to a change in the rules for the knockout stage of the tournament. Some have suggested there has been an overreliance on the technology, and there have been complaints that it is causing delays and interrupting the flow of the game.

FIFA officials insist the system is working as intended.


“The VAR cannot be blind, cannot ignore. If you have a tool that offers you the possibility to check, you have to check,” said Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA’s refereeing committee.

PRESIDENT DONALD Trump called out U.S. co-captain Megan Rapinoe after a months-old video was posted on social media in which she used profanity when she said she wasn’t going to the White House if the team wins the Women’s World Cup.

“Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team,” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

The president also tweeted that he will invite the U.S. team “win or lose.”

Rapinoe’s comments came during an interview for a magazine in January in which she was asked if she was excited by the prospect of visiting the White House. In a video excerpt posted Tuesday, she can be seen using a profanity when she says she’s not going.

“We’re not gonna be invited,” she added.



UNITED STATES 1, PANAMA 0: Jozy Altidore scored on a bicycle kick in the 66th minute, and the Americans won their first-round group with a victory in Kansas City, Kansas.

The U.S., which was 3-0 in group play, will face Curacao in the quarterfinals Sunday in Philadelphia.


PHILADELPHIA UNION 1, REVOLUTION 1: Kacper Przybylko tapped in a deflected cross in the 84th minute and the Philadelphia Union tied New England at Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Brandon Bye scored in the 31st minute for New England’s first goal directly from a corner kick this season.

New England (4-8-5) extended its unbeaten streak to five matches. Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia is 9-4-5.

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