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Women's World Championship: Quarterfinal Preview

The elimination portion of the women's World Championship kicks off on Thursday. Here's a look at all four matchups, and what the teams will need to accomplish to move on.
Maddie Rooney

After six days of preliminary action, the quarterfinal matchups are set for Denmark's 2022 women’s World Championship. 

Host Demark will be relegated to the Division I championship next year and replaced by France next year after they won the 2022 Division I title. Germany avoided relegation with their last-second goal against Denmark, but was also eliminated heading into the quarterfinals.

Here are the matchups for Thursday’s quarterfinal games. Each winner will advance to the semifinals on Sept. 3, while the losers will play placement games that same day:

Top Ranked USA Faces Hungary

In a David versus Goliath situation, Hungary will try to fend off USA’s attack in what will undoubtedly be a lopsided game in favor of the Americans. Hungary entered the World Championship as the lowest ranked team and will face an American team that outscored opponents 30-3 through four games.

Netminder Aniko Nemeth played every minute for Hungary, posting a 2.95 GAA and .908 save percentage, but will need to have the game of her life to keep it even remotely close. Defender Franciska Kiss-Simon was Hungary’s leading scorer with three points, all goals, in the preliminary round.

Alternatively, USA’s high-flying offense had three of the top six scorers in the opening round including tournament leader Taylor Heise who had nine points in four games. This game has blowout written all over it.

Japan Looks To Exact Revenge Against Switzerland

In the preliminary round, Switzerland downed Japan 3-1 by riding goals from  Alina Muller and Lara Stalder. Muller and Stalder were quiet throughout the preliminary round but can’t afford a down game against a Japanese team that looked stronger as the tournament progressed and will be out for revenge. Japan’s Akane Shiga emerged as one of the surprise stars of the opening round finishing with four points. 

At the same time, top-line players Makoto Ito and Haruka Toko are also capable of producing. Japan will need to stay out of the penalty box, a trend that plagued them against quicker teams, if they are to avoid playing a placement game. With Czechia and Sweden showing strength in Group B, avoiding a placement game against one of these teams will be the focus. The pressure, however, is on Switzerland which enters as the favorite.

Can Czechia Upset the Finns?

If there is one game where a true upset is possible, this is it. Czechia was dominant in Group B outscoring their opponents 21-2, while Finland looked beatable in almost every preliminary game during Group A competition. Finland’s big three of Petra Nieminen, Michelle Karvinen, and Susanna Tapani will need to outperform the Czechian offense, while the ageless Jenni Hiirikoski and the young Nelli Laitinen will play two-way roles from the blueline. 

Czechia’s offense, which was potent in Group B, will work to solve Anni Keisala. They’ll need key performances from the four players - Natalie Mlynkova, Daniela Pejsova, Dominika Laskova, and Katerina Mrazova - who scored over a point per game in the preliminary round. 

Czechia's wild-cards could be their young stars Adela Sapovalivova, who scored multiple highlight reel goals, and Klara Hymlarova. Finland is the favorite, but in single-game elimination action, anything can happen.

Canada Looks to Regain Confidence

After a demoralizing loss to the United States in the final game of the preliminary round, Canada will look to regain confidence against Sweden in the quarterfinal. Sarah Fillier has been impressive for Canada, emerging as the offensive catalyst and providing another threat outside of Marie-Philip Poulin. 

For Canada to win gold, Brianne Jenner (one assist) and Sarah Nurse (one goal, one assist) will need to rebound from slow starts that saw the pair uncharacteristically quiet offensively. 

Canada will likely return to Ann-Renee Desbiens in net after Emerance Maschmeyer struggled to hold off Team USA. As for the Swedes, Hanna Olsson was consistently their most dangerous player, while 17-year-old Mira Jungaker put up points from the back end. Sweden will need to find secondary scoring if they hope to challenge Canada. 

Watch for a strong rebound from the reigning champions.



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