The final day of group stage play has come to an end and the sixteen teams who will be moving on have now been decided. But before that news, a quick review of all the action that took place on Wednesday in Groups E and F.
Play began in Group F with a pair of afternoon kick offs that saw Mexico face France in Ottawa and England play Colombia in Montreal.
In Ottawa, France wasted no time asserting themselves in a match against the winless Mexicans. Marie Laure Delie would score the first inside of a minute, winning a header at the right-post after a good attacking run down the right from Elodie Thomis. The ball was popped high in the air by defender Alina Garciamendez, but Delie got on the end of the incoming ball, touching in from close range with a header.
Their second came in the 9th minute, an own-goal off the thigh of Jennifer Ruiz, when a corner kick sent in by Camille Abily from the left, banked in off the defender, who was preoccupied keeping the towering presence of Wendie Renard marked.
The French would add a third in the 13th minute, Eugenie Le Sommer touching in a cross from Thomis on the right – she, Thomis, had an excellent, rampaging match – following some neat triangular build up down the right-side. Le Sommer stretched her right-foot to get the needed touch, helping the ball across to the far-side of goal, just before the goalkeeper, Cecilia Santiago, could make the required intervention.
With a three-goal lead after thirteen minutes, Les Bleues took their foot off the gas, but only slightly, adding a fourth in the 36th minute when a deep free-kick from the right was left by Renard, ducking below a potential flick, nearly catching the keeper with little time to react. Santiago got a piece of that ball, but could not control the rebound, which fell to Delie, only for her right-footer to deflect off of Le Sommer, who was credited with the goal, before crossing the line.
El Tricolor would be spared further blushes for forty minutes, though the French would hit the bar through Thomis – her cross kissed off the face of the woodwork – and then see a penalty shout for a handball waived away.
But come the 80th minute France would cap off the day they came to life in the tournament with a fifth goal; it was the pick of the lot. Amandine Henry collected the ball in space from distance, unleashing a right-footed blast that arced into the top right-corner of the Mexican goal; a veritable cherry on top.
With the 0-5 win, France clinched top spot in the group, by dint of goal-difference, though they did not need quite so many. For Mexico, the Finals come to a premature end, exiting with just a single point and a minus-six goal-differential – there will have been lessons to be learned; expect a tougher opponent the next time they reach this stage.
Group F's other match similarly got off to a quick start when England took the lead in the 15th minute, after a spot of controversy handed them the initiative.
A soft handball call on Colombia's Daniela Montoya, when the ball bounced up on her and touched her hand, gifted the English a dangerous free-kick. Steph Houghton sent a long effort on target, drawing a save out of Sandra Sepulveda, the hero of Colombia's win over France, but the rebound was spilled and Karen Carney reacted quickest, arriving at the left-post to touch a left-footed shot through the legs of the keeper from a tight angle.
The Three Lionesses would add a second in the 38th minute from the penalty spot, the beneficiaries of yet another handball decision, though this one was more straight-forward.
An almighty scramble in the Colombian box following another dangerous free-kick, caught the arm of Carolina Arias as she went to ground to block an effort, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Fara Williams stepped up, smashing her right-footer to Sepulveda's right, opting for power rather than precision.
Las Chicas Superpoderosas nearly pulled one back when a ball over the top from Yoreli Rincon, one of the most sublime passers of the tournament, played in Arias, who nearly made amends for conceding that penalty. Her attempted loop-touch was denied by the face of the English keeper, Karen Bardsley, and the two collided heavily.
Colombia would find some late consolation in the 94th minute with Rincon again pulling the strings. Her high ball lofted over the top sprung Lady Andrade shading to the right beyond the English defenders and her right-footed looping placement sailed over Bardsley and in off the base of the left-post.
The 2-1 win was enough for England to clinch second place in the group – tied with France on six points, but trailing by three goals, while Colombia would be forced to await the day's other results to see whether their four points and a plus-one was enough to progress as a third-placed side.
The focus switched over to Group E for the late matches, as Korea Republic met Spain in Ottawa and already-qualified Brazil faced Costa Rica in Moncton.
In Ottawa, a contest between teams that knew they needed to win to progress – they were tied on a single point – saw Spain take the lead in the 29th minute through Veronica Boquete.
Marta Corredera worked down the left side, towards the end-line, before squaring a ball across the edge of the six-yard box where it was met by Boquete, guiding her stabbed left-footer high to the near-side of goal.
The Koreans would respond in the 53rd minute when some good work in the centre-circle from Ji So-yun allowed her to play down the right for Kang Yu-mi. She in turn hung a ball up to the middle of the area, where it was met by the head of Cho So-hyun, rising up to guide her header on to the left-side of goal.
La Roja would nearly retake the lead when Corredera was played in alone down the right, but her shot was parried, and the Taeguek Nangja would take the advantage in the 78th minute when a lofted cross from Kim Soo-yun on the right sailed over the keeper, Ainhoa Tirapu, and nestled into the far side-netting.
Spain would have a final chance in the dying moments, a free-kick atop the Korean box, but Sofia Bermudez' left-footer would smack off the face of the bar.
The 2-1 win would see the Koreans leap-frog over Costa Rica into second spot, who were in tough against Brazil, and condemn Spain to an early exit, their one point and minus-two less than Costa Rica took into their match against the group leaders.
Costa Rica took to the pitch in Moncton in second place with two points and an even goal-line. Mathematically they could progress with a draw, but they knew that a result in the other match would mean they needed more to remain relevant.
Facing the dominant Brazilians, it was the Costa Rican keeper, Dinnia Diaz, who would be the star, making a trio of early saves to keep the match scoreless. She tipped an effort from Rosana over the bar, then quickly closed the five-hole to deny Rosana again on a close-range redirection at the right-post on a cross from that side, and finally got down low to push away a low drive from Raquel Fernandes at the top of the box.
But As Canarinhas would not be denied for the full-ninety, finally taking the lead in the 83rd minute when a through-ball from Andressa played Fernandes down the right-side of the area and her low right-footer across the keeper beat Diaz. The Costa Rican keeper got a hand to the effort, but could not prevent it finding the left-side of goal.
Las Ticas would be forced to open up in the final minutes in hope of responding and crafted a good chance when Melissa Herrera was played in behind the back-line, but pressure and a heavy touch allowed a pair of Brazilian defenders to recover, snuffing out any chance of a comeback.
With the 0-1 win Brazil joins Japan as the only to teams to progress on a perfect record of three wins from three matches; the Costa Ricans would find themselves cruelly forced out at the final hurdle, as their record, namely the two points from a pair of draws, was not enough to take one of the third-placed spots.
And so exits Waking the Red's favourite manager, Amelia Valverde – the tournament will be all the poorer for its lack of elbow patches as she returns home with her charges. Aside from terms of fashion, Costa Rican success and Mexican failure means there could be change coming to the CONCACAF power-rankings.
After those four matches, the field for the Knockout round is set. Joining the twelve first and second-placed sides are Colombia, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden, while Thailand and Costa Rica exit as the lowest tallied third-placed finishers.
The Round of Sixteen begins on Saturday with a pair of fixtures.
In Ottawa at 4 pm (EST) Germany, who topped Group B, face off against Sweden, the third-placed finishers from Group D – a rematch of the 2003 Final, won by the Germans.
And in Edmonton at 7 pm (EST), China PR, Group A's second-placed representative, takes to the pitch against upstarts Cameroon, who finished second in Group C – this one should be a cracker, given how both teams have the potential to break out with attacking talents.
The group stage, though rife with pressure, is not where the tournament's true drama unfolds: that lies ahead in the coming knockout fixtures. After a two-day break, Canada 2015 resumes with four-straight days of life-or-death competition; should be good.