Another day of action at the Women’s World Cup is done with the second round of fixtures rolling on.
Thursday saw Group B and Group E continue with the likes of Australia, United States and Netherlands all in action, the latter duo facing off in one of the highlights of the group stage. But due to time zones it can be hard to follow all the action, especially with USA and Netherlands kicking off at 3am local time for fans of the Oranje.
So we’re here to round up all the action, stories and stats you might have missed from the day’s three games.
The streak is over
Much like the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, the United States are the final boss of the World Cup, proving unstoppable at times. Since a goalless draw with Sweden in their second group stage game at the 2015 World Cup, USA had gone on a 13-match winning streak which saw them lift the trophy twice.
That run included wins over China, Germany, Japan, France, England and Netherlands, as well as their victory against Vietnam to open the 2023 tournament.
But, much like the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, every streak must come to an end. The heavyweight clash of Group E, Netherlands and USA went head-to-head having both won their opening games so this could have been the battle for top spot.
The Netherlands took the lead in the 17th minute through Jill Roord, the first time USA have been trailing at the World Cup the 2011 quarter-finals against Brazil — a run of 17 matches. But Lyon midfielder Lindsey Horan equalised in the second half to seal a point and keep USA top going into the final game.
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Preparing for the triathlon
Speaking of Horan, the American midfielder was involved in a fierce battle with Lyon teammate Danielle van de Donk, who ended the game looking like she was ready to compete in a different sporting.
After a clash of heads with Rose Lavelle towards the end of the game, Van de Donk was patched up and bandaged in order to return to play. But not only was she bandaged, Van de Donk was also given a black swimming cap to keep the bandages in place, leading to some very obvious jokes about diving. She kept the swimming cap on while making peace with Horan post-match too, before posting on Instagram that she was going swimming in Bacardi Lemon.
Portugal’s first ever World Cup goal
In the other game of Group E, Portugal and Vietnam faced off in a battle of the debutants. The first round of fixtures wasn’t a good one for the debutants at the World Cup as all eight not only lost their opening games but also failed to score.
However, the second round has been better. We’ve seen Philippines score and win and Ireland find the net in defeat, which did also knock them out of the World Cup. On Thursday it was Portugal’s turn.
It took them just seven minutes to take the lead against Vietnam with Telma Encarnacao opening the scoring with the first of four shots she had. Overall, Portugal had 29 shots with nine hitting the target.
The win places Portugal just one point behind USA and Netherlands, with the former to come in their final game.
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Four teams gone
However, with happiness for certain teams comes sadness for others. On Wednesday, three teams were eliminated from the World Cup with Costa Rica, Zambia and Republic of Ireland unable to make it to the last 16.
Thursday saw a fourth team drop out with Vietnam now unable to qualify after losing to Portugal, on top of their defeat to United States. Three of those teams are debutants too, with only Costa Rica having played at the World Cup before 2023.
Asisat Oshoala makes history
In the final game of the day, hosts Australia took on Nigeria hoping to secure their spot in the last 16 with one match to spare. But the Super Falcons had other ideas.
As a tense opening 45 minutes game to a close, Australia took the lead through Emily van Egmond but Uchenna Kanu equalised before the break was up. In the second half Nigeria took real control of the game and went 3-1 up thanks to goals from Osinachi Ohale and Asisat Oshoala.
Oshoala started the game on the bench, a decision that brought a look of discussion from Nigeria’s fans but in the end it proved a good move as the Barcelona forward’s fresh legs helped put Australia to the sword. In scoring Nigeria’s third goal, Oshoala made history in becoming the first ever African player to score at three Women’s World Cups, having also found the net in 2019 and 2015.
Also on three World Cup goals, no player has scored more at the tournament for the Super Falcons than Oshoala, who moved level with Rita Nwadike and Nkiru Okosieme.
The win moved Nigeria top of Group B on goals scored, putting them in a good position to qualify for the last 16 for just the third time.