Spain dominate in their opener, Canada are held by Nigeria and Switzerland get their first win - WWC Day 2 round up
The second day of the World Cup got underway today, Spain took on Costa Rica in Wellington, while in the early hours of the morning (BST) Canada faced Nigeria and Switzerland took on tournament debutants The Philippines.
Spain vs Costa Rica
In search of their first ever Women’s World Cup title, Spain got their tournament off to the perfect start after they demolished Costa Rica 3-0 in Wellington. An almost perfect display extended their incredible run of form, La Roja’s have only lost one of their last 15 games.
Despite all their off-field issues, Spain still came into the tournament as one of the favourites and their early dominance in the game showed the world they are a side to be reckoned with. Jorge Vilda’s side put the Costa Rican defence under constant pressure right from the off, and despite them standing firm in the beginning, it took just 21 minutes for the deadlock to be broken. Esther Gonzalez’s dangerous low cross into the box was turned into her own net by Valeria del Campo in her attempt to clear the ball.
After the first goal went in, the Costa Rica players seemed to lose all confidence in themselves and just two minutes later it was 2-0. Aitana Bonmati showed quick feet to shift the ball onto her left foot before curling her effort perfectly into the far corner.
La Tricolor were clearly struggling and there was no respite from Spain as they soon sailed into a 3-0 lead before the half hour mark. Jenni Hermoso got on the end of a cross but saw her header come back off the bar, quickest to pounce was Real Madrid forward Gonzalez who fired home from close range. Costa Rica keeper Daniela Solera prevented further damage before half-time as she brilliantly saved Hermosos penalty kick.
The Spanish dominance continued all throughout the second half, they had numerous chances to extend their lead, Olga Carmona saw her long range effort strike the crossbar and Solera remained incredibly busy in the Costa Rica goal, making save after save.
In total Spain had 45 goal attempts during the game, yet they only scored three goals which is quite concerning. But overall all the players looked sharp and they played some incredible football at times, it will be interesting to see if they can perform against the better ranked sides in the tournament as they progress.
Costa Rica can take some heart from a gutsy performance in the second half of the match as their pretty much full amateur level team held some of the greatest players on the planet to a goalless second half.
Nigeria vs Canada
Despite dominating the game overall, Canada failed to get past a stubborn Nigerian defence in Melbourne after veteran Christine Sinclair surprisingly missed a penalty.
Canada were expected to cruise to victory against a very inexperienced Nigeria team, however, this didn’t really go to plan. In the early stages the Nigerians were on top in terms of possession but they failed to create any clear cut chances. Canada came out a lot more aggressive in the second half and in the 50th minute they had the perfect opportunity to take the lead as they were awarded a penalty, but Canada’s all time leading goal scorer, and arguably their best player Christine Sinclair had her kick superbly saved by Nigeria’s keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie. The penalty miss didn’t dampen their spirits too much as the Canadians kept pushing to score, and despite a late sending off for Deborah Abiodun they failed to capitalise, meaning the Nigerians managed to hold on and secure a surprising draw.
Switzerland vs Philippines
Switzerland got their 2023 World Cup campaign off to a great start by beating the Philippines 2-0 in Dunedin.
A Ramona Bachman penalty kick late in the first half opened the scoring before Seraina Piubel sealed the victory in the 64th minute after firing home from close range to send the Swiss top of Group A over New Zealand (on goal difference).
Tournament debutants The Philippines, made a bright start to the game they were pushing forward and began to cause the Swiss a few problems. After just 16 minutes they thought they had scored their first ever World Cup goal through Katrina Guillou but it was ruled out for offside. But from then on Inka Grings’ side put the Philippines under lots of pressure and they began creating more and more chances.