• Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

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Women’s World Cup: USA begins title defense with win; The English succumbed to nervousness

Women's World Cup: USA begins title defense with win;  The English succumbed to nervousness

Day three of the 2023 Women’s World Cup featured four more matches as eight teams kicked off their campaigns, including the Lionesses in Group D and reigning world champions USA in Group E.

The Lionesses opened their Women’s World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win against Haiti. Sarina Wiegman’s side showed glimpses of what made them European champions almost 12 months ago, but still struggled in aspects of the game in Haiti.

Fans will remember that England opened their European Championship campaign with a 1-0 win against Austria, so the fact that this win was not a blowout should not be a concern at all.

#ENG starts the second half with the same attacking mentality 😀

Watch live on ITV1 now…#FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/fjRaMxT5vk

β€” ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 22, 2023

Mary Earps wasn’t called upon often, but when she was, she made two big saves that kept her ahead. Just another day for FIFA’s current best goalkeeper.

Haitian Melchie Dumornay was impressed; the 19-year-old causes England’s backline all sorts of problems. Next season she will be playing for Lyon and she gave the world a little tease of what to expect from her in the coming years as she continues to develop.

Melchie Dumornay v England | #FIFAWWC

Dumornay with an absolutely magnificent performance against the European champions. When she carried the ball it was purposeful, her positioning off the ball was incredible and she was unbeatable in one-on-ones.

What a way to announce yourself! photo.twitter.com/ibzGdPZ8WG

β€” Yash (@Odriozolite) July 22, 2023

Denmark got off to a surprisingly late start against China in Group D, scoring with their first shot on target in the 90th minute.

It was indeed the game where the gap in quality between the teams was smallest; The teams are ranked 13th and 14th in the world rankings.

Neither side looked incredibly convincing, with both sides opting to keep it tight at the back in what could decide who will finish second in the group, with England favorites to top the table.

The late goal was a bit controversial, as some thought Rikke Sevecke was blocking Xu Huan just before Amalie’s goal went in.

Take a look for yourself!

Amalie Vansgaard handles the late drama! 🀯

Watch it live on @BBCTwo and @BBCiPlayer now πŸ“Ί #FIFAWWC #DEN #CHN pic.twitter.com/BAP0O2LhsO

β€” BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 22, 2023

World champions USA returned to the World Cup with a 3-0 win over Vietnam.

Sophia Smith scored the winning goal, making her the youngest USWNT player to score more than one goal on her World Cup debut at 22 years old. Considering America’s history in this tournament, this is certainly an impressive achievement.

She doesn’t just score goals though, as Smith was easily the USA’s most innovative player, offering an outlet at all times, constantly taking on defenders and running in behind.

The USWNT World Cup schedule
1. Give the ball to Sophia Smith
2. Let Sophia Smith cook
3. Profit

β€” “A Madison Fan” (@KyleCoche) July 22, 2023

this doesn’t look like sophia smith https://t.co/bzOC3mOBbj

β€” whitney medworth (@its_whitney) July 22, 2023

Despite the loss, Vietnam’s Tran Thi Kim Thanh put in a solid performance, making five saves – including a penalty.

It wasn’t a great penalty, to be honest, but not many can say they stopped Alex Morgan from 12 yards.

Big moment for Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh! β›”οΈπŸ§€ #BBCWorldCup #FIFAWWC #USAVIE pic.twitter.com/BsdO0KDkYN

β€” BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 22, 2023

Given that the United States is ranked No. 1 in the world and Vietnam is ranked No. 32, it was certainly a special moment.

I love thinking about all the young sportswomen in #Vietnam who watched Tran Thi Kim Thanh at the ⚽️ Women’s World Cup todayβ€”and decided to be goalies! #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/Ro5Tr2k1Hx

β€” Minky Worden (@MinkysHighjinks) July 22, 2023

Japan had the most goals of the day, scoring the five previous debuts in Zambia.

Mana Iwabuchi’s suspension was a big talking point when it came to Japan, with the midfielder not playing enough in the WSL for Japan manager Futoshi Ikeda.

Iwabuchi’s efforts weren’t lacking here though, with Hinata Miyazawa scoring twice, Mina Tanaka finally getting her goal after having two previous attempts off the VAR side, and both Jun Endo and Riko Ueki getting one each.

5-0 win meant #JPN secured their highest scoring win at #FIFAWWC 2023 so far 🀩

Hinata Miyazawa was first on the score sheet against Zambia… pic.twitter.com/13BDLRxVCr

β€” ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 22, 2023

Zambia struggled immensely in their first game at the World Cup, but that wasn’t much of a surprise given the quality and technique of the Japanese all over the pitch.

What has really impressed me about Japan is that Hinata Miyazawa and Aoba Fujino are collaborating behind Mina Tanaka. Both know when to press, they have been aggressive and Zambia have really struggled to deal with both. They understand each other perfectly in their movements.

β€” Josh Bunting (@Buntingfootball) July 22, 2023

In 2011, Japan became the first Asian team, men’s or women’s, to win a World Cup championship. According to Ikeda, it remains a source of inspiration.

“Many of our group were inspired by the 2011 Nadeshiko team growing up,” she said. “We would like to take the challenge again, to become champions.

#On this day in 2011, Japan became the first Asian team – male or female – to win a World Cup championship.

Just months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, it was a soccer moment that truly united the nation. #FootballUnitesTheWorld pic.twitter.com/MZy91i4uSA

β€” FIFA (@FIFAcom) July 17, 2023