Week Two of the FIFA Women’s World Cup wrapped up this afternoon, and WOWEE was it ever a lot to take in!
Kicking things off on Monday, Argentina was semi-shockingly able to fend off Japan for the entire ninety minutes! Japan looked in poor form (pretty unexpected considering their normally formidable presence), but good on Argentina (MAJOR underdog) to keep things 0-0 and earn that point!
And in the second and final match of the day, Canada snuffed out Cameroon 1-0 to push ahead with three points.
On Tuesday we saw New Zealand take on the Netherlands, and while the Kiwis looked like they might be able to keep things at 0-0, the Netherlands were able to sneak in a goal in overtime for the win. Major bummer for our buddies down under.
Later, Chile and Sweden faced off, and things stayed a surprising 0-0 until a game delay came due to lightning in the area. After that, Sweden hit the pitch with a vengeance and knocked in two goals for a final result of 2-0. Again, bummer for our Southern Hemisphere pals, but major props to Chile’s goalkeeper on some pretty excellent saves in the first sixty minutes of Swedish attack.
Finally, the day wrapped up with an absolutely CRUSHING match between the USWNT and Thailand – the US scored THIRTEEN GOALS (the most ever scored in a WWC match) with five of them alone being scored by Alex Morgan. Holy bananas, talk about a statement. The media obviously picked up the story, some saying the excessive goals weren’t fair to Thailand, but look, bitch, this is the fucking WORLD CUP. Yeah, I’m sure a 13-0 scoreboard stings like hell, but if you can’t hang, don’t come. Additionally, the goal differential matters big time when it comes to deciding the advancing sixteen teams (four groups will see three teams move forward), so it’s nice to have an added bit of insurance on that front.
MOVING ON, Wednesday began the second stage of group play, and we saw Nigeria squeeze out two goals against a fairly lackluster-looking South Korean side for a 2-0 result.
Germany, meanwhile, was able to get a goal against Spain for a 1-0 win, and host nation France edged out Norway with a 2-1 scoreboard to wrap up the day. (Wendie Renard breathed an audible sigh of relief after that second goal came, ’cause it was her accidental own goal that even put Norway on the board in the first place.)
Thursday’s first match was the one to watch – Brazil took on Australia, and after the Matildas’ shocking loss to Italy over the weekend, everyone wondered if they could bounce back. The answer? Yes, yes they could – they answered Brazil’s two goal lead in the first half by sending one in just before halftime, and driving in two more goals in the second half for a 3-2 result. I’m still reeling that Marta and Cristiane were subbed out so early on, and I genuinely feel like that was the misstep that resulted in Australia’s overall victory. Things in Group C are p. bonkers at the moment as a result.
The second match of yesterday was between South Africa and China, and China managed to squeak out a goal for a 0-1 win. Not great news for South Africa, that’s for sure.
And today (Friday) we started with Japan against Scotland, and the Japanese side seem fully restored to the style of play we’d have expected before their blundered first game of the tournament, managing a 2-1 result over the Scottish debutantes. I was pretty annoyed, though, because one of Japan’s goals was scored on a PK that pretty much everyone agreed (minus the ref) shouldn’t have been given. And if it hadn’t, things would have (at the very least) likely settled up at a 1-1 draw thanks to a BEAUTIFUL goal by Lana Clelland in the 88th minute of play. Unfortunately it was too little too late from Scotland overall (some questionable decisions re: formation and the timing of critical subs there), but that’s the way the shortbread crumbles.
Jamaica took on Italy at noon, and the Italians were able to score two goals in the first half with Jamaican chances few and far between. Sydney Schneider blocked a dangerous PK, but she ended up with a yellow card for moving off her line too quickly when the shot was taken, and Italy was able to redo it for the first goal, while the second one came off a corner kick that was poorly defended. Jamaica came to life in the second half with some decent chances, but with Girelli’s third goal scored early, and then two more coming from Galli, it ended up being a shut-out 5-0. Womp womp, but Italy moves to the top of Group C as a result, and has the highest goal differential apart from the US.
And finally, Argentina defended incredibly well (thanks in HUGE part to their outstanding goalkeeper, who blocked a PK) against the English attack, but all it takes it one goal, which England got in the second half. The final score was 1-0, meaning England gets the full 3 points and Argentina is left with 0. (My heart feels a little shattered since Argentina is my home away from home, BUT, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.)
So where does that leave us? Well, France leads Group A with 6 points, while Norway and Nigeria are in second place with 3 points apiece, and South Korea remains in dead last with 0 points. Group B, meanwhile, has Germany in the lead with 6 points, while Spain and China are in second and third with 3 points each, and South Africa remains on the bottom with 0. Group C is currently lead by Italy with 6 points, while Brazil and Australia each have 3 points, and Jamaica stays in last place with 0. Group D has England with 6 points at the top, Japan with 4 points, Argentina with 1 point and Scotland with a sad 0. In group E, the Netherlands and Canada are tied for top position with 3 points each, while New Zealand and Cameroon are both on the bottom with 0. And finally, the USWNT have a commanding lead over Group F by way of the goal differential, but Sweden also has 3 points in second place, while Chile and Thailand are both at the bottom with 0 each.
Germany, France, England and Italy are all confirmed so far to go through to the Round of 16. (Weird how countries with actual funding can advance!)
So what’s on deck this weekend? Netherlands are the favorites to win against Cameroon tomorrow at 9am ET, and then we’ll get a few hours of break time before Canada faces off against New Zealand at 3pm ET. Then Sweden will play Thailand on Sunday at 9am ET, and we’ll see if the USWNT will be as crushing against Chile as they were against the Thai side at noon ET.
And finally, let’s talk headlines!
- Sam Kerr called out homophobic trolls on social media after they came for her following the Matildas’ win over Brazil.
- Only 14 Women’s World Cup matches are sold out, says FIFA. (Fuck that noise, slash maybe if you hadn’t scheduled like twelve other men’s tournaments simultaneously…)
- Here’s what I was talking about re: people getting up in arms about the USWNT scoring a shit ton of goals. SORRY NOT SORRY.
- This is a great piece about how Argentina’s squad overcame blatant sexism to get to this WWC.
- And the VAR griping has continued this week (to the surprise of no one), slash here’s a piece that breaks down why the French win over Norway was controversial.
Check back in on Monday for a recap of this weekend’s matches, as well as what you need to know going into next week!