The tournament favourites will take the field mid-day on Monday as they look to continue their prolonged unbeaten run at this year’s World Cup. The Americans have been nearly flawless thus far at France 2019 and everybody is well aware that anything less than yet another title would have to be considered a failure. With a huge quarter-final match against the hosts France awaiting, the USWNT will still need to get by a young and plucky Spanish side in the round of 16.
Spain didn’t necessarily have the group stage they would have hoped for, but they are still a dangerous group. Their offense unfortunately sputtered until they feasted on a lowly South African side, but their defense led by veteran Marta Torrejon commands their back-line and has contributed to their stingy demeanour. They’ll certainly need to be on top of their assignments if they are to limit this powerful American attack.
Is a shocker in the cards? Many could see this match as being closer than you might think. La Roja do many things well and if their youth seem ready for this stage, the Spaniards may just do some things that frustrate the U.S. As always, read on below the odds for a tactical breakdown, match preview, and betting selection to keep our solid run going.
USA vs. Spain Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (-109)
Under 2.5 (-111)
USA vs. Spain Pick:
In this match expect Spain to not be able to play the way they’re most used to. Like their male counterparts, the Spanish women like to possess the ball and hold it until they see an openings. In all group stage matches, they dominated possession but did fail to effectively utilize it. In the round of 16 vs. the Americans, that strategy won’t work all that well. The US hound the ball when they don’t have it, and dominate the field when they possess it. Spain does however have a solid recent track record against the US, most recently dropping a friendly to them but only by a score of 1-0. Spain can hang.
Unfortunately though the Americans will force the young Spaniards into making mistakes and defending harder than they’re accustomed to. The pace in which the U.S. attacks should give some difficulty to Spain and the great uncertainty in this match is how they’ll be able to defend and withstand the American onslaught.
Ultimately look for the Americans to follow up a dominant group stage with yet another stellar outing in the round of 16. They seem to be on an absolute mission, and it seems like the controversy surrounding their domination vs. Thailand three games ago has only reinvigorated their passion. Expect the U.S. to score early and dictate the pace of the remainder of this match. As we’ve seen in this tournament, with the Americans scoring early it will force a mostly conservative Spanish side to ‘open up’ and adopt a more reckless approach forward. This will easily play into the hands of the USWNT where the likes of Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Lindsey Horan should all get quality chances at goal. I do expect Spain to battle here, and there is good value on the ‘both teams to score market’ but I think the U.S. rolls by two or more and this game finds the over 2.5 goals.