We started with 12 and after three grueling matchdays that saw 75 goals over 18 games, the field has been cut down to eight. The Olympic quarterfinalists include some of the best nations and players to currently be playing the sport, and, as we head into a much-needed rest day, the question is, if these supreme nations were pets, what animals would they be?
Canada vs. Brazil
The quarter finals will kick off with a rematch of the 2016 bronze medal match, but it will also be… hamsters versus peacocks.
Let’s go back to your childhood, of standing in a pet shop, tugging at your parent’s hand desperately pleading for them to let you get a pet; something small and low maintenance… and then the unbridled joy when they relented and let you get a Canada. A well-liked pet that always seems to be around, there is little danger with a hamster – unless you have a particularly powerful hoover.
As for their opponents: there are times when Brazil amble around the pitch, tail folded over itself, hiding its awesome beauty and then, boom, full plume! A noisy bird that will squawk away after being felled in the box, there are few things more terrifying than a Marta peacock running at you with its tail spread wide. (Sidenote: Formiga is a tortoise).
Great Britain vs Australia
Having only played eight different matches as “Great Britain” I have nothing smart to say about this clash so let’s get back to the weirdness: robot dogs vs. corn snakes.
I say this with the deepest respect to the players, but GB isn’t really, well, real. Not an independent nation recognised by FIFA, GB can only play at the Olympics if the nominated British team (in this instance, England) finishes as a top three UEFA nation at the previous Women’s World Cup. A true outlier in the football world, Team GB can only be a faux pet, and what better faux pet is there than that weird silver robot dog that was popular at the end of the 90s? Arf.
Undergoing somewhat of a rebirth under new coach, Tony Gustavsson, the Matildas are shedding their old skin and emerging a new. And according to our friend Google, corn snakes make good pets as they have a fine temperament and can be quite friendly, unlike some of the other more nefarious reptiles.
Sweden vs. Japan
Two teams favourited to medal this summer, their quarterfinal meeting will insure that only one has the chance to get onto the podium in Tokyo. That’s right, it’s the clash of the Siberian huskies and the house cats.
When you Google Siberian husky, the search engine kindly tells you that their temperament is: “intelligent, friendly, outgoing, alert, gentle” need I say more? The nation giving all others pause for thought at the Olympics, Sweden looks to be the most majestic of dogs, er uh, teams.
This is Japan, this is Japan rolling around on its back, here Japan is playing with a piece of string… why are you yawning? A well-liked team that has been all too pedestrian this summer, bigging up Japan has felt like posting photos of your cat on social media; she’s cute, why aren’t I getting any likes… she is cute, right?
Netherlands vs. USA
Quarterfinal four, a rerun of the World Cup final, it might not be the blockbuster clash people are hoping for, but it will be Siamese fighting fish up against… Komodo dragons!
The Dutch have, admittedly, faced three not incredible defences so far in Japan, but the Oranje have been exceptionally proficient with their shots. So, much like Betta fish, have attacked with unrelenting accuracy and a touch of flair. The world champions are not a cute, cuddly pet but rather one you don’t want to let snap at your flesh, they are the queens of the reptile world, they are the USWNT. Not just relying on their venom – which is deadly to humans – Komodo dragons become even more deadly thanks their unrelenting snapping, jaws working overtime for their shark-like teeth to gnash into flesh. Although the USA haven’t shown their usual bloodlust this tournament, they are not a pet to be taken lightly.