Crunch time at the 2023 Women’s World Cup is well and truly upon us.
The outcome of Group B and C will be decided on Monday. Two of the tournament’s most impressive sides – Japan and Spain – will vie against each other for top spot knowing they are both into the next round. In Group C’s other game, Costa Rica and Zambia play looking for their first points and goals.
And then later in the day, Group B’s qualification comes down to the wire, with Australia needing to beat Canada to progress and Nigeria needing at least a draw to reach the last 16.
The best photos of the 2023 Women’s World Cup
In the US, games will be aired on FOX Sports, while Telemundo will provide Spanish-language coverage.
Seven Network and Optus Sport are broadcasting matches in Australia and the BBC and ITV have the rights in the United Kingdom.
A full breakdown of media rights holders in each country is available on the FIFA website.
Costa Rica vs. Zambia and Japan vs. Spain start at 3 a.m. ET (8 a.m. BST), while Canada vs. Australia and the Republic of Ireland vs. Nigeria both kick off at 6 a.m. ET (11 a.m. BST).
Monday’s standout game comes from Melbourne as Australia play Olympic champion Canada.
Canada, after a win and a draw in its opening two games, sits level atop Group B with Nigeria, while Australia lies just a point behind after a disappointing loss in its last game against the Super Falcons.
Canada knows that a draw or victory will see it progress to the round of 16, while if Australia win, it will qualify for the next stage, regardless of the result in the other group game between the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria.
Australia could be bolstered by the return of captain and star player Sam Kerr who missed the Matildas’ opening two games of the tournament because of injury.
Kerr declared herself fit for Monday’s crunch tie but remained coy over how head coach Tony Gustavsson might choose to use her, off the bench or from the start.
For Canada, avoiding defeat will be the aim of the game. Canada’s own star striker, Christine Sinclair, is still attempting to etch her name into the history books.
A goal for the 40-year-old at this year’s tournament would see her become the first player, either male or female, to score at six World Cups.
In Brisbane, Group B leader Nigeria will be playing the Republic of Ireland.
Nigeria knows a draw will see it through to the knockout stage. Debutant Ireland has already been eliminated.
There are far fewer permutations heading into the final round of fixtures in Group C.
In Wellington, Spain and Japan will face off having both won its two group games so far, impressing many with their performances.
Spain – having already achieved its best tally in the group stage of a World Cup – knows a draw or win will see it top the group for the first time in its history.
Japan, on the other hand, is behind the Spanish on goal difference, so if it wants to face the runner-up in Group A rather than the first-placed team, it has to beat Spain.
That won’t be an easy task, with Spain the top scorers at the competition so far.
Group C’s other game will see two winless teams, Costa Rica and Zambia, go head-to-head in what will be a first senior competitive meeting between the two nations.
Although a dead rubber in terms of qualification, they have plenty of pride to play for with a first-ever World Cup win a possibility for both.