With stage one of the competition complete, Chelsea Harper has the five crucial moments of the FIFA Women’s World Cup you may have not noticed.
That superb strike by Kgatlana
As it’s their first World Cup, expectations weren’t too high for the South African side – so it’s fair to say we didn’t expect this spectacular goal by Thembi Kgatlana in the first half of their match against Spain.
Kgatlana’s shot, which came out of nowhere, was curled into the top right corner of the goal at an incredible force – leaving the Spanish keeper completely helpless.
Despite Kgatlana taking the lead, luck took a turn for the worst for Banyana Banyana and they lost 3-1 with not one, but two penalties going against them and providing the first red card of the competition. Ouch.
Elsewhere in group B, Germany managed to secure a 1-0 win over China, whilst group A saw spectacular results of 4-0 for hosts France against South Korea and a 3-0 victory for Norway against Nigeria.
Only three days in, we witnessed the first hat-trick of the competition – and a memorable one of that. Brazilian striker Cristiane Rozeira managed to net three goals against Jamaica, heading in the first before tapping in a second in the 50th minute. The third came from an incredible free-kick, smashing against the post before making its way into the goal, securing a tasty 3-0 triumph against the Reggae Girlz.
Although Brazil were missing their superstar Marta, who holds the record for most goals scored at a Women’s World Cup, this didn’t appear to cause too much distress for the Brazilian side.
Their 34-year-old striker Cristiane managed to step up to the plate, making her the oldest player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup – beating a world record held by none other than Ronaldo himself.
Group C wasn’t short of drama for Italy either as they managed to gain a surprise 2-1 win over Australia, joining Brazil at the top of their group.
Scotland’s unexpected force up front
Leading up to the competition, Erin Cuthbert became a prime talking point for Scotland’s squad – but there was another player that left a lasting impression on Sunday afternoon.
In the match against England, Scotland’s forward Claire Emslie provided an incredible performance on the right-wing before scoring a much needed and well-deserved goal for the Scots in the second half, making history with Scotland’s first ever World Cup goal.
The former Manchester City girl was constantly causing problems for England’s defence and in the lead up to her goal in the 79th minute, she came close on several occasions – crossing the ball in crucial areas and attempting a shot herself.
Although Kerr’s side came out fighting and provided England with a nervous game in the last 10 minutes, their time eventually ran out and it ended 2-1 in favour of the Lionesses. But Scotland’s defeat is by no means a true representation of their capabilities, and with the likes of Emslie in their ranks, they could be a dark horse in this competition.
The first shock draw of the competition
The first draw of a World Cup may not seem crucial, but when it makes one team celebrate like they’ve won the whole thing, it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Of course, we’re referring to Argentina’s goalless draw against strong contenders Japan – where history in the competition was made yet again as the Argentines secured their first ever World Cup point.
Argentina, who are ranked 37th, have only made it to two World Cups in the past: one in China in 2003 and one in 2007 where they suffered an embarrassing 11-0 defeat against Germany in the tournament’s opener.
Fast forward 12 years and they’ve managed to obtain a point against one of the strongest teams in the world – creating emotional scenes as the final whistle was blown.
The Argentines’ key player and deserving woman of the match Estefania Banini helped her team stick it out to the very end, throwing a spanner in the works for Group D and creating concerns for Scotland who are yet to gain a point in this year’s contest.
Last minute drama
Although all eyes were on the US opener against Thailand (they won a record-breaking 13-0 by the way), Sweden also managed to create some excitement in Group F by scoring two late goals in their match against Chile – with the help of super-sub Madelen Janogy in extra time.
Sweden dominated the match throughout but were left frustrated when they couldn’t find the back of the net. After a 40-minute break in the game due to adverse weather conditions, Sweden came back well-rested as Kosovare Asllani made a breakthrough in the 83rd minute, before Janogy came on and netted a second in the fourth minute of extra time.
The Netherlands also scored a late winner in the 92nd minute during their 1-0 win over New Zealand in Group E, whilst Canada secured a more comfortable 1- 0 victory over Cameroon.
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