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Group E is there for the taking

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Soccer: Womens World Cup-Cameroon at Canada Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s set of World Cup matches are all in the intriguing Group E, which is currently up for grabs. Both games went 1-0 to the supposed favorites, but both the Netherlands and Canada had to dig deep to defeat New Zealand and Cameroon, respectively. If the Dutch and Canadians meet expectations today, they’ll both clinch a place in the knockout rounds, but it’s also possible to have all four teams on 3 points heading into the final set of games.

Update 5:22pm: It wasn’t pretty, but Canada was in full control en route to a 2-0 victory over New Zealand. After nearly scoring late in the first half, the Canadians broke through via Jessie Fleming’s 48th minute finish. With the Football Ferns strangely content to carry on with the same plan despite trialing, eventually Canada put the game to bed with a second goal from Nichelle Prince.

Both Canada and the Netherlands have assured themselves of spots in the knockout round, and will face off to see who wins Group E on this coming Thursday.

Update 11:19am: The Netherlands emerged 3-1 winners over Cameroon in the morning game, with star attacker Vivianne Miedema scoring a brace. Miedema broke through in the 41st minute, but the Dutch were shocked by a 43rd minute Gabrielle Onguéné equalizer. However, the Netherlands recovered after the break, with Miedema’s club teammate Dominique Bloodworth putting them back in front in the 48th minute. Cameroon had a few chances to equalize again, but Miedema struck again in the 83rd minute to ensure that her side clinched a spot in the knockout round.

Canada’s recipe for success under coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller has been to totally ignore aesthetics and focus on results. It hasn’t been pretty, and one gets the sense that any team that can break through against them early will be able to withstand an attack that of late has mostly consisted of hoping Christine Sinclair does something on her own.

That team is probably not New Zealand, whose strength is built around outstanding goalkeeper Erin Nayler and NWSL Best XI center back Abby Erceg. The Football Ferns are a sturdy, experienced side built to not give up goals...which is pretty much what Canada is. The difference? Canada has Sinclair, and Jessie Fleming, and more. New Zealand is certainly not a bad team, but their lack of similar game-changing skill in the midfield and attack likely means they’ll be conservative in this one.

So, hyper-conservative favorite grappling with difficult, conservative opposition? Pray for an early goal to force one of these teams to open up, because this could easily settle into a scoreless draw.

Location: Stade des Alpes (Grenoble)

Kickoff time: 3:00pm Eastern

Available TV: Fox Sports 2 (yes, 2, not 1), NBC Universo

Available streaming: If you subscribe to fuboTV via this link, your friends at B&RU get some cash!

Here are your other options: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer Match Pass, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, NBC Universo Now

For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.

What are you drinking?: For the first game, it’s easy: two cups of coffee. For the second game, I will probably be in the mood for beer, but I have to go out and get beer, so right now the answer is a mystery.

This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.

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