Who will the Matildas play next? How difficult will their opponent be? And when is the match? All your World Cup questions answered

The Matildas made a huge statement in their 4-0 thrashing of Olympic gold medal winners Canada in their World Cup group match on Monday night.

However, the job is far from over for the Aussies as they head into the knockout stages of the tournament.

Fortunately, the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria played out a 0-0 stalemate on Monday, which means the Aussies topped their group and avoid playing the top team from Group D in their next match.

Captain Sam Kerr was also not required against Canada, so she has six extra days to get her injured calf right for the elimination fixture.

However, who the Matildas will play next is still up in the air. Two crucial World Cup fixtures on Tuesday night will determine their opposition and Daily Mail Australia has run the rule over every possible option.  

The Matildas were ruthless against Canada and will now face either England, China or Denmark in the knockout rounds of the World Cup

The Matildas were ruthless against Canada and will now face either England, China or Denmark in the knockout rounds of the World Cup

Injured captain Sam Kerr (right) now has extra time to return from a calf injury after not being required off the bench against Canada

Injured captain Sam Kerr (right) now has extra time to return from a calf injury after not being required off the bench against Canada

Who will the Matildas play next?

There are still two matches to be played in Group D, the group that crosses over with the Matildas in the round of 16. Those two matches – both to be played on Tuesday night – will decide who tops the group and who finishes runner-up.

As Australia topped Group B with their thumping 4-0 demolition of Canada, they will play the runner-up of Group D, which could be England, China or Denmark.

England are playing China tonight while Denmark face Haiti, who have not won a match to date at the World Cup.

For the English Lionesses, the equation is simple – win and top the group.

However, if China produces an upset, then things get much more complicated, especially if Denmark defeats Haiti, as expected. Here are the different possible outcomes for the Matildas:

England wins, Denmark wins or draws

England will top the group and Denmark will be runner-up, facing the Aussies.

England wins, Denmark loses

This will come down to goal difference. China or Denmark will progress, depending on how many goals they leak.

England loses, Denmark wins

This is where you really need to reach for the calculator. 

This scenario would see England, China and Denmark all finish on six points, which previous results would be used to sort the group on goal difference. 

England can still finish top, or be knocked out entirely, under this scenario.

The Lionesses currently boast a two-goal advantage over both Denmark and China, but that would be eroded if they lost.

If China wins by a one-goal margin, they will finish top of the group because they have beaten England.

England previously beat Denmark, so the Danes will need to win by two goals or more to leapfrog them. That would mean they also go past China and top the group, leaving Australia to play their AFC Asian Cup rivals in the round of 16.

If China wins by two goals or more, Denmark will also need to win by the same margin or more to jump into top spot.

So as you can see, an upset win by China would really throw the cat amongst the pigeons.

England loses, Denmark loses or draws

China will top the group and Denmark will be eliminated, leaving the Aussies to face the Lionesses. 

Schedule:

England v China, Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Tuesday at 9.30pm AEST

Haiti v Denmark, HBF Park in Perth, Tuesday at 11pm AEST 

Australia v runner-up of Group B, Monday, August 7, Stadium Australia in Sydney, 8.30pm AEST

 The England Lionesses – World Ranking: 4

England are not only favourites to top their group, but to content for the entire World Cup. Drawing them early would be a major challenge for the Matildas

England are not only favourites to top their group, but to content for the entire World Cup. Drawing them early would be a major challenge for the Matildas

The Lionesses, following the footsteps of their male counterparts, are hungry to bring the World Cup trophy home. 

Over the years, the English women’s football team has undergone a remarkable evolution, becoming a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. 

They stand as a formidable opponent and if the Aussies are unfortunate enough to draw them in the early stages, they should prepare for a tough challenge.

Ranked fourth in the world, the Lionesses are not far behind the perennial powerhouses of women’s football, such as the USA, Germany, and Sweden. 

The turning point for women’s football in England came with their remarkable victory in the Euros 2022 final against Germany, securing a thrilling 2-1 win.

The momentous victory against Germany in the Women’s Euro 2022 Final at Wembley Stadium will forever be etched in history. 

The intense match, which required extra time, was decided by Chloe Kelly’s close-range goal from a corner in the 110th minute. 

England's Keira Walsh was injured against Denmark and will not play against China, but there is hope the star midfielder will return in the round of 16

England’s Keira Walsh was injured against Denmark and will not play against China, but there is hope the star midfielder will return in the round of 16

Ella Toone and Lina Magull had scored for England and Germany, respectively, in normal time. 

This victory marked a significant milestone as it was the team’s first-ever major trophy and the first major international championship won by an England team (both men’s and women’s) since the famous 1966 World Cup triumph.

The team’s journey began in November 1972 when they played their first international match against Scotland. 

Since then, they have participated in the FIFA Women’s World Cup on seven occasions. 

Their most notable achievements include reaching the quarter-finals three times, claiming third place in 2015, and finishing fourth in 2019. 

A knee injury to star midfielder Keira Walsh sent shockwaves through the squad, but she was cleared of an ACL tear and remains in the frame for the knockout stages. 

This is arguably the strongest squad England has ever sent to a World Cup and history beckons for these Lionesses.

Head to Head: Matildas 2, England 3, draws 1

China 铿锵玫瑰 (Steel Roses) – World Ranking: 14 

Australia is well versed in playing China through the AFC Asian Cup and know their rivals will be no pushover if they play each other in the round of 16

Australia is well versed in playing China through the AFC Asian Cup and know their rivals will be no pushover if they play each other in the round of 16

China’s presence in women’s football has been both noteworthy and tumultuous. 

While boasting one of the best team names at the World Cup, their status as a global force has diminished over the years due to underfunding within their domestic system. 

China was among the pioneering countries to invest in women’s football, but financial support dwindled as their performances declined.

During the same period when the USA was fervently developing women’s football in the west, China was making significant strides in the east. 

With the implementation of the ‘open-door policy’ in 1978, the Chinese government embraced western culture, including sports. 

This state-sponsored system fueled rapid progress, and China even had the honour of hosting the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991. However, their journey took an unexpected turn when they were defeated by Sweden in the quarter-finals.

China's glory years may be behind them, but players like Wang Shuang (pictured) still have plenty of ability and passion that can trouble the Matildas

China’s glory years may be behind them, but players like Wang Shuang (pictured) still have plenty of ability and passion that can trouble the Matildas

Despite early success, funding for women’s football in China began to decrease over time. Nevertheless, the Matildas, should they face China in the round of 16, must be prepared for a tenacious performance. 

In the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup quarter-finals, China displayed remarkable resilience by coming from behind to secure a victory against Vietnam. 

In the semi-finals, they faced Japan, trailing twice during the match but ultimately triumphing in a penalty shootout. 

Their never-say-die attitude was again on display in the final against South Korea, where they overcame a 2-0 deficit with just 23 minutes remaining, netting the winner in the 94th minute.

Although their talent pool may not be as deep as it once was, China has proven time and again that they are a force to be reckoned with on the big stage. 

Head to Head: Matildas 12, China 19, Draws 11 

Denmark De Rød-Hvide (The Red and White)- World Ranking: 13

Denmark are underdogs at this tournament but their star is on the rise and they will be a tricky proposition for any team in the round of 16

Denmark are underdogs at this tournament but their star is on the rise and they will be a tricky proposition for any team in the round of 16

The Matildas will undoubtedly hope to draw Denmark, although they are aware that the Danish team will not be an easy opponent. 

After a long absence, Denmark has finally made its way back to the world’s finest company, ending a 16-year wait since their last appearance in the World Cup.

The expansion of teams from 24 to 32 has worked in Denmark’s favour, allowing them to secure the top seed in the qualification stage. 

Their impressive run included eight victories in eight games, where they scored an astonishing 40 goals and conceded only two. 

Pernille Harder, pictured getting above England's Rachel Daly, is the main player the Matildas will need to shut down if they play Denmark at the World Cup

Pernille Harder, pictured getting above England’s Rachel Daly, is the main player the Matildas will need to shut down if they play Denmark at the World Cup

There are great expectations on the Danes who have missed the last three World Cup tournaments before qualifying for Australia and New Zealand

There are great expectations on the Danes who have missed the last three World Cup tournaments before qualifying for Australia and New Zealand

The team has also added new talent to complement the experience within their ranks, making them a formidable potential challenger for the Aussies.

In the lead-up to the tournament, Denmark was on a four-game winning streak. Though Spain halted their streak, the Danes remain confident with the announcement of their squad for Australia and New Zealand. 

Fans back home will be relying on their historic goalscorer, Pernille Harder, who played a key role as the leading striker in the Euro 2022.

Head to Head: Matildas 1, Denmark 3, Draws 2 

source: dailymail.co.uk