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England head coach Philip Neville passes the ball to England’s Lucy Bronze  during the Women’s World Cup Round of 16 soccer match against Cameroon on June 23 (Michel Spingler)
England head coach Philip Neville passes the ball to England’s Lucy Bronze during the Women’s World Cup Round of 16 soccer match against Cameroon on June 23 (Michel Spingler)|Associated Press
Soccer

Soccer Thursday - Miller Picks UEFA Europa League, Women’s World Cup, Copa America, England, Norway, Brazil, Paraguay

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

Now, the fun begins.

With the quarterfinal rounds starting Thursday at both the Women's World Cup and the Copa America, every match now takes on more importance. Teams are one win away from the semifinals, but every team left has fought their way to this point.

In France, the England women will take on battle-tested Norway, and while Phil Neville's side is the favorite here, it will not be easy. I do expect the English to find a way in regulation, and move into a potentially massive semifinal game next week.

At the Copa America, it all clicked last game for Brazil in a 5-0 win. But then the Selecao looked up and saw Paraguay in their quarterfinal matchup, and had to say, "Oh no, not again." At each of the last two Copa tournaments in South America (2011 and 2015; 2016 was a special 100th anniversary one-off in the United States), Paraguay has knocked Brazil out of the tournament in this very spot.

There is no way that happens again, right? This time, Brazil finds its way past Paraguay.

Thursday also begins the qualification process for the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League with seven preliminary round contests. I looked at four of the five with favorites in the minus lines.

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UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE QUALIFICATION

Barryville (+275) vs. Cliftonville (-112), draw (+230), 1:30 p.m EDT
The Pick:
Cliftonville ML (-112)

FC Progres Niederkorn (-835) vs. Cardiff Met University (+1600), Draw (+600), 1:30 p.m. EDT
The Picks:
FC Progres -2 Asian handicap (-120)
Over 3 goals Asian handicap (-125)

KL Klaksvik (-590) vs. SP Tre Fiori (+1200), draw (+500), 2 p.m. EDT
The Pick:
KL Klaksvik -1.75 Asian handicap (-127)

KF Prishtina (-420) vs. St. Joseph's FC (+775), draw (+450), 2:45 p.m. EDT
The Pick:
KF Prishtina to score two-plus goals (-140)

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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUARTERFINALS

Norway (+280) vs. England (+100), draw (+245), 3 p.m. EDT (FOX, Universo, and Fubo.tv)
The Pick:
England ML (+100)

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COPA AMERICA QUARTERFINALS

Brazil (-530) vs. Paraguay (+1500), draw (+575), 8:30 p.m. EDT (ESPN+, Universo, and Fubo.tv)
The Picks:
Brazil -0.75 Asian handicap first half (-120)
Brazil -1.75 Asian handicap (-125)