Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - — Kevin Bax­ter


Where: Ed­mon­ton. Time: 1 p. m. PDT. TV: FS1, Tele­mu­ndo. The buzz: Ja­pan, the de­fend­ing World Cup cham­pion, has been all but f law­less de­fen­sively with its three- keeper ro­ta­tion al­low­ing just two scores — and the sec­ond was a f luke goal in stop­page time in its round- of- 16 win over the Nether­lands. Of­fen­sively, how­ever, Ja­pan has played just well enough to win, beat­ing the Dutch on Mizuho Sak­aguchi’s sec­ond- half goal, ar­guably the pret­ti­est one of the tour­na­ment. Ja­pan was one of only two teams to emerge from group play un­beaten and un­tied, but that won’t in­tim­i­date Aus­tralia. The Aussies took down the other per­fect team, Brazil, 1- 0, in their last game.


Where: Van­cou­ver. Time: 4: 30 p. m. TV: FS1. The buzz: Canada ended a three- game los­ing streak to Eng­land with a 1- 0 win in its fi­nal World Cup tuneup, a re­sult that gives the home team a boost of con­fi­dence go­ing into the re­match. A sold- out pro- Cana­dian crowd at BC Place will also help. Although Canada’s at­tack has sput­tered here — its three goals are the fewest of any quar­ter­fi­nal­ist — it has also shut out three of four op­po­nents, giv­ing up just one score in the tour­na­ment. Eng­land won its last three games by iden­ti­cal 2- 1 counts. To win again, the English will need another stand­out per­for­mance from for­mer Cal State Fuller­ton keeper Karen Bard­s­ley, the player of the game in her team’s round- of- 16 up­set of Nor­way.

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