As we come close to the end of the first round of games with Colombia and the Korea Republic still yet to play, all nations from Group A are set to head into their second group stage matches with co-hosts New Zealand taking on the Philippines and Switzerland battling out against Norway.
Let’s have a gander at what these games had to offer.
Colombia vs Korea Republic:
The final match of the opening round of games saw last year’s runners-up in the Copa America Feminina Colombia go up against fellow runners-up in the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup Korea Republic at Sydney Football Stadium. Both sides came out with a high intensity going back and forth with chances at goal. Within the first ten minutes, Korea looked to test Colombia’s goalkeeper Catalina Perez with chances from Choe Yuri and Ji Soyun but Perez seem to handle the pressure well.
Colombia were given a penalty in the 29th minute after a handball by Shim Seyoeon. Catalina Usme stepped up to take the penalty and scored with a composed finish sending Yoon Younggeul the wrong way.
Colombia continued to pressure the South Koreans from an offensive point of view with Linda Caicedo doubling the lead in the 39th minute where she took on multiple Korean defenders and had a shot from outside of the box. Yoon Younguel was able to get her fingertips on the ball, but wasn’t enough to keep the ball out of the net making the Real Madrid player the youngest goalscorer at the tournament so far.
Korea’s Lee Geummin was very close to cutting Colombia’s lead back to one, however, Perez responded to her headed effort with a strong save keeping their two-goal advantage alive into the half-time break.
Colombia continued to look threatening in the second half with attempts from Mayra Ramirez and Lorena Durango but could not find the back of the net. A new record was set during this matchup with Korea’s Casey Phair becoming the youngest player to play at a Women’s World Cup at 16 years and 26 days. Although Colombia had numerous chances to get a third, they ended up securing the three points in a 2-0 win putting them second behind Germany in Group H.
New Zealand vs Philippines:
After an impressive victory over Norway in their opening game, New Zealand look to keep that momentum going against the Philippines at Wellington Regional Stadium. New Zealand once again started off strong controlling the possession and putting pressure on the Philippine defence with Hannak Wilkinson going for goal in the tenth minute only for her shot to go over the bar.
However, it was the Philippines who managed to get the opener from a set piece. New Zealand were only able to clear it as far as Sara Eggesvik who crossed the ball back into the box where Sarina Bolden rose above two Kiwi defenders to head it into the back of the net scoring the Phillippines’ first-ever Women’s World Cup goal in the 24th minute.
The Football Ferns looked to find an equaliser through Katie Bowen in the 38th minute but her shot was unfortunately wide of the post. Katrina Guillou was close to putting the Philippines two goals up just before half-time but her shot was wide of the goal as well.
New Zealand kept pushing to find an equaliser with most of the possession played in the Philippines’ defensive half. Jacqui Hand look threatening in front of goal, striking the post in the 58th minute and almost getting the equaliser for New Zealand in the 64th minute. But after a VAR check, Hannah Wilkinson was ruled offside prior to the goal.
As the match went into added time, the Kiwis almost found the leveller through Grace Jale. However, the goalkeeping heroics of Olivia McDaniel were on display late in the game making a strong save to keep the clean sheet and give the Philippines their first-ever win in a Women’s World Cup.
Switzerland vs Norway:
Switzerland enter their second game at the Women’s World Cup hoping to secure another win against European counterparts Norway at Waikato Stadium. Norway suffered a big loss with Ada Hegerberg being replaced by Sophie Roman Haug just before kick-off due to a groin injury.
Switzerland looked strong in the first ten minutes, looking threatening every time they move into the final third. For the Scandinavians, it took some time to settle into the game; but after the 15th minute, Norway looked to create chances with Sophie Roman Haug and Maren Mjelde looking to score but both missing the target. Switzerland had a chance to get into the lead with Ana Crnogorcevic, but her shot fell wide keeping the scores level into the half-time break.
Norway continued to test Switzerland goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann with a header from Mjelde in the 50th minute and a shot from Roman Haug in the 55th minute, but both were saved by the 37-year-old.
Ramona Bachmann continued to cause problems for the Norway defenders but dragged her shot wide of the goal in the 64th minute. Geraldine Reuteler went for goal in the 72nd minute from outside the box but her shot was comfortably saved by Aurora Mikalsen. Thalmann continued to display a strong goalkeeping performance; saving consecutive shots from Caroline Graham Hansen and Frida Maanum. Both teams had chances to score late in the game, but it ended as a goalless draw.
At the end of Day 6 of the Women’s World Cup, Group A looks to be a tight battle for a spot in the Round of 16.