U.S. faces Colombia to open World Cup knockout round


Colombia supporters cheer on their team against England during the first half of a FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Montreal, Canada. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Colombia’s Catalina Usme controls the ball against England during the first half of a FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Montreal, Canada. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

United States’ Alex Morgan fights for control of the ball with Nigeria’s Onome Ebi during the second half of a FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match, Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in Vancouver, New Brunswick, Canada (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Upstart Colombia will be the next opponent for the U.S. national team at the Women’s World Cup.

The second-ranked U.S. women, who have two World Cup titles, finished atop Group D with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria on Monday night.

Colombia, ranked No. 28 in the world, was the third-place finisher in Group F behind France and England. But Las Cafeteras already pulled off one of the tournament’s biggest upsets with a 2-0 group-stage victory over No. 3 France.

In its group finale on Wednesday, Colombia fell 2-1 to England in Montreal. Sixteen teams in the expanded field of 24 advanced to the knockout round.

Colombia will face the United States on Monday night at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

“They got a tremendous result against France,” coach Jill Ellis told reporters on Wednesday night in Edmonton. “But at this point, and the players know this, you’ve got to respect what they can do — because they’re going to bring it as much as we are.”

Las Cafeteras will be without goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda because of a pair of yellow cards, one against France and the second against England. Sepulveda was key to the team’s victory over France with six saves.

Colombia is making its second World Cup appearance. The team, which finished in 14th in 2011 in Germany, had never won a match in the sport’s premier tournament until the upset over France.

The United States has won the World Cup twice, but not since 1999. The Americans have advanced to the knockout stage in all but one of the seven World Cups.

The United States has won both meetings between the teams.

An expanded field of 24 teams were in this World Cup, which is being played across six Canadian cities.

Thursday and Friday are rest days at the World Cup. The knockout round opens on Saturday with top-ranked Germany playing Sweden in Ottawa and China facing Cameroon in Edmonton. On Sunday, host Canada plays Switzerland in Vancouver, France faces South Korea in Montreal, and Brazil plays Australia in Moncton.

In addition to the Colombia-United States match on Monday, defending champion Japan plays the Netherlands in Vancouver and Norway plays England in Ottawa.