Day Sixteen was a dark day for the hosts, as Canada's hopes of a run to the final were dashed in the evening match, but first, the other quarterfinal, between Australia and Japan, took place under sweltering conditions at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.
The heat at pitch level may have been stifling, but that did little to prevent Japan from bossing the early passages, finding multiple half-chances throughout the opening frame of play.
Shinobu Ohno looped a hopeful effort over, before a poor Australian pass out of the back allowed Nahomi Kawasumi to surge up the right, picking out Ohno on a near-post run – again she guided her touch over harmlessly over. Aya Miyama, captain of Nadeshiko Japan, closed the half with a crack from distance, but it too sailed over the bar.
That pressure continued into the second half, the best chance coming through Yuki Ogimi on another cross from the right – but she too saw her touch directed off-target.
The breakthrough would finally arrive in the 87th minute when the Matildas failed to deal with a left-sided corner kick. The ball was partially cleared, only for Rumi Utsugi to put it back into the box. The chance fell to Azusa Iwashimizu on the right, her initial attempt was blocked by a combination of goalkeeper and defender, but she managed to scoop the rebound towards the left-post, where Mana Iwabuchi was on hand to right-foot into the open net from close range.
That strike, and the 0-1 win, would prove the decisive factor as Japan, who shocked many by defeating the USA in the 2011 Final, will be moving on to the Semifinals, where they will meet the winners of England-Canada. For Australia, who broke onto the scene with an impressive outing, falling at the hand of AFC rivals Japan will sting, but they should take plenty of encouragement from a solid tournament showing.
For the fourth and last of the quarterfinals, the action switched to Vancouver, where England and Canada were set to face off for the right to meet Japan in the next round.
The opening atmosphere was raucous, 54 000 Canadian fans willing their team on, while roughly 27 English fans stood out like sore thumbs.
And Canada nearly capitalized on the early momentum when a stunning bit of footwork from Christine Sinclair saw her grace past a pair of defenders before picking out Melissa Tancredi with a cross-field ball. Unfortunately, Tancredi blazed her effort, having stepped inside onto her right-foot, over the target – another wasted chance.
Then in the eleventh minute, disaster struck; Lauren Sesselmann stumbled on the ball below the centre-circle, turning over possession to Jodie Taylor. Canadian footing again proved costly when the recovering Allysha Chapman slipped in her haste, allowing Taylor to work towards the right where she beat Erin McLeod with a low right-footer across to the far-side of goal, giving England the early advantage.
Three minutes later the hosts were stunned again when the Three Lionesses did their nation's ways proud, scoring from a set-piece when a deep free-kick on the right isolated Lucy Bronze on the diminutive Chapman. Bronze easily escaped the marking to guide her header high towards goal, squeezing it in off the underside of the bar over the leaping McLeod.
Fourteen minutes in and two-goals down, Canada would not concede, and it was Captain Sinclair who stole a precious one back before half-time. Ashley Lawrence peeled towards the left to find space for a shot, putting her effort on target. English keeper, Karen Bardsley, would save the initial shot, but spilled the rebound and Sinclair was on had to collect before stabbing a left-footer into the net in the 42nd minute, ensuring Canada's deficit at half-time was reduced to one.
Feeling secure with their lead, England sat deep, inviting Canada on and absorbing the pressure, looking to hit on the counter. The nerves must have been a tad rattled when first-choice keeper, Bardsley, who had played every second of the tournament thus far, was forced off with an eye injury.
Siobhan Chamberlain was forced into action, but despite that awkward turn of events, Canada were unable to capitalize, barely testing the emergency keeper. In fact, were it not for a fine diving save from McLeod, England's advantage may have been increased.
Even the inclusion of Olympic-hero Diana Matheson could not rescue the situation.
One final chance fell to Sophie Schmidt in the waning minutes, meeting an Adriana Leon cross from the left on the volley, but she could only guided her attempt rocketing into the sky.
After a tense second half and five minutes of stoppage-time, the Canadian dream was dead and the English booked a date with Japan in the semifinals, courtesy a 2-1 win, setting a new high-point by reaching the deepest stage ever for their country.
And with that, the final four has been determined, but eager viewers must wait a further two days before the next round of matches graces the pitch.
On Tuesday, another epic encounter begins the Semifinal stage, when the USA meets Germany in Montreal, Quebec at 7 pm (ET). Germany knocked out the Americans the last time the US hosted the Finals in 2003 and have been everything the Yanks have not this edition – their shootout win over France will either have hardened their resolve, or depleted their supplies. Will have to wait until Tuesday to find out if the American side can over come their stiffest test yet.
Come Wednesday, Day Sixteen's winners, Japan and England, meet in Edmonton, Alberta at 7 pm (ET). The two were placed in the same group in the previous two editions of the World Cup, the English getting the better of their Japanese opponents on both occasions, advancing at the top of the quartet (they drew 2-2 in 2007, while the English won 2-0 in 2011) – though of course, Japan would stride to the final in 2011.