THE DAY REPLAYED – The long wait was finally over for teams in Groups E and F as they got their FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ campaigns up and running. Costa Rica and Spain became the seventh and eighth sides to make their debuts at the tournament, while two Brazilian veterans set new records in Montreal.
Spain 1–1 Costa Rica
Brazil 2–0 Korea Republic
France 1–0 England
Colombia 1–1 Mexico
Goal of the day
Colombia 1–1 Mexico, Daniela Montoya (82’)
Three of the day’s seven goals were eye-catching long-range strikes, but Daniela Montoya’s was the pick of the bunch. Tatiana Ariza was on the edge of the penalty area when she controlled a lofted pass with her back to goal. Shielding the ball from two defenders, she laid it back to Montoya, who unleashed a first-time effort from 25 yards that flew in off the underside of the crossbar.
There in spirit
Montoya’s goal to level the score at 1-1 for Colombia was remarkable in itself, but the team’s subsequent celebration was even better. No sooner had the ball rippled the net than the Cafeteras held up a shirt with Melissa Ortiz’s name and number, showing it to the crowd and television cameras by way of a dedication to her. An achilles injury may have forced Ortiz, one of the side’s key players, to withdraw from the squad shortly before the tournament kicked off, but she nevertheless remains very much a part of the ensemble in Canada.
All square between master and apprentice
The fact that Costa Rica are participating at these finals is down in large part to coaching duo Ignacio Quereda and Pedro Lopez. The pair, currently in charge of Spain’s women’s national team, worked for the Costa Rican Football Federation five years ago and actively helped in women’s football development programmes there. They appear to have done a good job, as their former charges were La Roja’s equals here. Come the final whistle the Spaniards were left disappointed with the draw, while Las Ticas celebrated as if they had won.
The heavens opened in Canada on Tuesday, with rain falling almost non-stop at both host venues. Yet while the four teams in Moncton battled the weather, the players in Montreal remained dry: once the roof of the Olympic Stadium was closed they enjoyed perfect playing conditions.
Deja vu for Marta
Marta’s strike against Korea Republic was her 15th goal at a Women’s World Cup, meaning she pulled away from Germany’s Birgit Prinz to become the outright all-time record goalscorer at the tournament. Curiously enough, her first goal at the finals, in 2003, was also a penalty against the Koreans.
6 – Formiga’s outing for Brazil against Korea means she has now participated at six of the seven Women’s World Cups to date, having only missed out on the inaugural edition in 1991. The 37-year-old, who has played in 22 games - of which she has won 14 and lost just five - has therefore appeared at more tournaments than anyone else apart from Homare Sawa, who has likewise taken part in six finals after playing her 19th Women’s World Cup match for Japan on Monday. Furthermore, Formiga’s goal set another new best mark, as she became the oldest player to have found the net in tournament history. Incidentally, Kristine Lilly holds the competition’s all-time appearance record after playing 30 matches for USA across five finals.
“They probably won’t want to see that poster much anymore.” France striker Eugenie Le Sommer, whose face adorns numerous adverts for the Women’s World Cup in Moncton, after scoring the winner against England.
Thursday 11 June
China PR – Netherlands (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, 16:00)
Canada – New Zealand (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, 19:00)
Germany – Norway (Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa, 16:00)
Côte d’Ivoire – Thailand (Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa, 19:00)
(All times given are local)