The Women’s World Cup recap: Let the Games Begin

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The Women’s World Cup officially got under way on Saturday and continues through July. In case you missed it, here’s what happened this weekend and what’s coming up today.

Saturday:

Canada 1-0 China

Host nation Canada battled against a tough China in the opening game of the tournament. Ninety minutes went scoreless, and though the Canadians held the majority of possession and had far more attempts at goal, they couldn’t find the back of the net. Some bad passes and little mistakes gave China some solid opportunities as well, but the keepers held it scoreless until just before the end. Canada’s Adriana Leon was fouled just inside the box by China’s Zhao Rong, giving up a penalty in stoppage time. Canada’s captain, Christine Sinclair, was able to convert with a perfectly placed ball, securing the win for the host country.

Highlights:

New Zealand 0-1 Netherlands

To finish up the first games for Group A, Netherlands beat New Zealand 1-0 in their first ever appearance at a Women’s World Cup.  The game was fairly deadlocked in the midfield with possession split 50/50, and shots on goal being held low. The one goal that made a difference was a beautiful shot from outside the top of the box, sent into the upper right corner by Lieke Martens, so far, the goal of the tournament.

 

Sunday:

Norway 3-0 Thailand

Group B is a bit unbalanced, and that showed on Sunday starting with Norway beating Thailand 3-0.  Norway dominated the game and at times were maybe too relaxed, but Thailand, at their first Women’s World Cup, did well to hold their ground.  Thailand was able to create chances, even when down, which may come in handy when they face Ivory Coast later in the group. Thailand also saved a penalty to keep it from being 4-0, but that was as well done for Thailand as it was bad on Norway’s part.  To beat Germany and win the group, Norway will have to step up their intensity but maintain the composure they showed for most of the match here.

Highlights:

Germany 10-0 Ivory Coast

This game was hard to watch.  The most mismatched game in Women’s World Cup history (according to world rankings), ended 10-0 in favor of Germany, the current number one team.  Côte d’Ivoire showed incredible heart despite the loss in their first Women’s World Cup game. Germany looked terrific as to be expected, though we’ll see how they do against a better matched team, especially given they’re missing key members of their defense. Here’s hoping Côte d’Ivoire has a better time against Thailand later in the group.

Highlights: 

Coming Up:

Sweden – Nigeria 1pm PT

Sweden should come away with this win, but Group D is the group of death this year, and anything can happen. Should be a fun game to watch.

Cameroon – Ecuador 4pm PT

Predicting this game will be as good as a guess, but I’m going to bet on Ecuador for the win. It should be a fast paced game from both sides, though neither program is as developed as the powerhouses we know well, which could lead to some physical play also.

USA  – Australia 4:30pm PT

Regardless of whether or not you’re a US or Australia fan, this is a game to watch.  USA has a score to settle, and Australia are familiar opponents who know how the USA play. I expect the USA will win this one but not without a heck of a fight. 

Sidenote: If you’re just getting ready to jump on the USA bandwagon, welcome aboard! The USWNT snagged the cover of Sports Illustrated this past week, with veteran Abby Wambach getting her own individual cover as well. SI also filmed some nice profiles on the players, so if you want to meet the team, check them out here.

si

Japan – Switzerland 7pm PT

Defending champs Japan take on the other top team in their group, Switzerland, for what should be the match in Group C.  This game will definitely inform on what to expect from these two sides later in the tournament as both are expected to advance to the knockout stage.  My pick is Japan to win.

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