The final Round of 16 match was played late on Tuesday night when defending champions Japan took to the pitch in Vancouver, British Columbia against the Netherlands.
Japan, like Brazil, were perfect through the group stage, amassing three wins and scoring four goals, while conceding one in Group C. Netherlands, on the other hand, advanced as the third-placed side out of Group A.
The Japanese would require just ten minutes to assert their dominance, taking the lead through Saori Ariyoshi on a broken play.
Captain Aya Miyama worked down the left, flinging a cross into the middle which was turned towards goal by Yuki Ogimi. Her header smacked off the face of the bar, but was not cleared by the Dutch defenders, falling to Ariyoshi at the top of the area for a low right-footer to the left-side of goal.
Nadeshiko Japan would continue their strong start, but failed to add a second, despite numerous chances through the next hour of play.
And the Dutch would nearly make them pay for that wastefulness, when a corner kick from Sherida Spitse resulted in a goalmouth scramble. The Japanese keeper, Ayumi Kaihori made a fine reaction save when the delivery ricocheted off a defender's knee towards goal, and the follow up chance from Kirsten van de Ven was blocked by Mizuho Sakaguchi.
That woke up Japan, who responded with one of the goals of the tournament, pulling off some of the intricate build for which they are renown. Ogimi dropped to Miyama on the left-side of the Oranje box, who in turned rolled a set-up back towards the top of the area. Mana Iwabuchi dummied the ball, allowing it to fall to Sakaguchi, who curled a sweetly struck left-foot high to the left-side of goal – a wonderful strike.
Netherlands would find scant consolation in the waning minutes when a mistake from Japanese keeper, Kaihori, allowed a weak header from van de Ven to find the back of the net, taking her eye off the ball for just a moment as it slipped past her.
The Dutch would go in search of an equalizer, but time, there were two minutes left, was their foe, and the match would end 2-1, allowing Japan to progress and sending the Netherlands home.
With that, the eight quarterfinal matches are set, but eager viewers must wait until Friday for the first of those contests – and they are some tasty encounters, rife with geopolitical and historic resonance.
The first two arrive on Friday, where Germany and France – old foes indeed – meet in Montreal, while China PR faces the USA – no competition there – on the pitch in Ottawa; may need a bit of diplomacy to get through those two.
Come Saturday, Australia and Japan dual over AFC and Pacific supremacy in Edmonton, while England and Canada meet in the second match in Vancouver - plenty of ties between those pairs of countries as well.