Day Seven began in Moncton with one of the shocks of the tournament as Colombia dispatched third-ranked France 0-2 to take the top spot in Group F.
Lady Andrade gave Las Chicas Superpoderosas the lead in the 19th minute with a right-footed finish after receiving a lovely pass behind the French back-line from Yoreli Rincon.
The goal was nice, but what really stole the show that afternoon was a sublime performance from Colombian keeper, Sandra Sepulveda, who pulled off six saves in a barrage of 21 shots from the French – a further six attempts were blocked by her teammates. Eugenie Le Sommer, who scored a cracker against England, saw her shot tipped over the bar, while another massive save from Sepulveda denied Elise Bussaglia at the start of the second half.
Holding Les Bleues at bay, Colombia would seal the result in the 93rd minute on the counter when Catalina Usme strode down the left channel to score the second, vaulting Colombia into the top spot in the group on four points and a plus-two goal-differential.
Over in Group E, Brazil clinched a place in the knockout round with a 1-0 win over Spain in Montreal.
Despite the flair for which their nations are renown, the two soccer powerhouses engaged in a contest of long balls, Spain wasting a glorious chance when such a ball from Alexia Putellas sprung Natalia Pablos, who wilted under pressure from recovering Brazilian defender Monica, sending a weak shot well wide.
As Canarinhas would not pass on their opportunity when Rafaelle intercepted a ball in midfield, hitting a forty-yard, searching ball over the top for Andressa Alvas, who touched past the Spanish keeper, Ainhoa Tirapu, rushing off her goal-line. The ball, trickling towards the goal-line, was hooked away by defender Celia Jimenez, but Alvas sagely followed up her chance, collecting the weak clearance and left-footing into the gaping net past a helpless, prone defender.
La Roja would find a chance to equalize late, a deflected shot from Veronica Boquete – she wanted a whistle for a handball – fell to Irene Paredes at the left-post, but her low drive from a tight angle banked off the near-post; Brazilian keeper, Luciana, possibly getting the required touch.
With the victory, Brazil sealed their spot in the next stage, a perfect six points and a plus-three goal-difference. Spain will have to wait until the final group match to discover their fate.
Back in Group F and Moncton, England kept their hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Mexico, but not until the old, familiar ghosts nearly haunted that nation once more.
It was heart-in-mouth time when an early defensive miscue nearly handed Renae Cuellar a goal. English keeper, Karen Bardsley, slammed her distribution into her own defender, resulting in a turnover and a free attempt at goal from the top of the box; she would make amends with a crucial save.
The Three Lionesses would recover from that concern to take the lead in the 71st minute through Fran Kirby, but not until after Mexico had another good look via an in-swinging corner kick from Monica Ocampo on the right, kissing off the face of the bar.
Kirby collected a bouncing ball just outside the Mexican area, popping it over one tackle and then cutting inside across another, to poke a right-footer towards the left-side of goal; her celebratory smile, breaking through the English stiff upper lip, was worthy of such a finish.
Karen Carney would pad the lead in the 82nd minute, directing her header from the middle of the area back against the grain on a left-sided cross from Alex Greenwood; a pair of substitutes linking up to seal the win.
El Tricolor would grab some consolation in the 91st minute, capitalizing on a spill – again?! - from the English keeper, Bardsley, who saved Charlyn Corral's shot, after she was sprung by Fabiola Ibarra's long ball. Ibarra wisely made the lung-busting run from deep, following up her pass and the subsequent shot to arrive on the scene, left-footing the rebound into the goal.
Group E would end in a densely packed mess: the Colombians on top with four points, followed by England and France on three and Mexico at the rear on one after their opening day draw against the group leaders. Goal-difference from first to last is separated by just three goals; the final group matches will grant everyone a chance of moving on.
The evening would close out in Montreal and Group E where Korea Republic and Costa Rica met, each hoping to be the ones to follow Brazil into the second round.
The Costa Ricans would take the lead after seventeen minutes, Melissa Herrera getting the necessary touch on a long free-kick from the half-way line. Korea's Cho So-hyun attempted to clear the looping finish off the goal-line, but was too late, the ball had already crossed.
The Taegeuk Ladies would respond shortly thereafter, registering a pair of goals in a four-minute span from the 21st minute on. Ji So-yun got the first from the penalty spot after Yoo Young-a was taken down in the box by Cristin Granadoes, right-footing her kick to the goalkeeper's left, Dinnia Diaz sent sprawling in the opposite direction.
Jeon Ga-eul would add the second in the 25th minute, guiding her sharp header onto the far-side of goal after Kang Yu-mi was played down the right touch-line by Kim Hye-ri, flinging a whipped ball to the near-post.
Las Ticas would spend the rest of the match hunting down an equalizer, spurred on by their smartly attired coach – elbow patches, right on - one that would finally come in the 89th minute when a ball over the top from Katherine Alvarado picked out Karla Villalobos on a diagonal run from left to right, chesting down the ball and guiding a right-footed touch back across the Korean keeper, Kim Jung-mi, to the left-side of goal.
The 2-2 draw would leave second spot in the group entirely up for grabs. Brazil is through with six points, but behind them Costa Rica sit on two with a zero goal-differential, while Spain and Korea Republic have one and are a minus-one and minus-two, respectively.
The final groupings, both E and F, will be ones to watch come the end of the group stage: Las Ticas are in tough against Brazil, though mathematically they could advance with a draw, while for Spain and Korea it's win or go home.
No matches on the schedule for Sunday, but come Monday, Groups A and B come to an end; both are very much up for grabs.
The Group B matches come first at 4 pm (EST): Cote d'Ivoire meets Norway in Winnipeg, a match that appears a mere formality, though the Ivorians, who have yet to register a point, can play spoilers, especially should an unforeseen result come when Thailand faces Germany at the same time in Moncton. Germany and Norway sit on four points with sizable, positive goal-differences, while Thailand has three after their win over Cote d'Ivoire, but a heavy loss to Norway has them in negative territory.
At 7:30 pm (EST), Group A seals the evening when China and New Zealand meet in Winnipeg and Canada takes to the pitch in Montreal against Netherlands to determine who will move on to the knockout stages. The hosts top the group with four points, but have only a minimal plus-one goal-differential advantage over China and Netherlands, who each have three points and plus-minus' of zero. The Kiwis, on a single point, still have plenty of chance to move on, as a win could vault them into the guaranteed places, or, depending on how results fall in future groups, into one of the third-placed spots.
All is yet to be determined – only two teams, Japan and Brazil, have ensured their entry to the next round - enjoy!