Although the Women’s World Cup group stage is already ending for some teams, Matchday 2 ensured that the upcoming round of fixtures will provide some thrilling drama.
As contenders faltered, and some sealed their FIFA WWC exit, other nations were able to pull off some historic results. The US, Germany, and hosts Australia all dropped points; meanwhile, the likes of Sweden and Spain booked their slots in the knockout stage.
The Matildas’ co-hosts also endured a difficult second matchday at home…
Groups A and B: hosts leave knockout hopes in the balance
New Zealand suffered a devastating 1-0 defeat to the Philippines to start Matchday 2 of their own Women’s World Cup tournament. An early Sarina Bolden strike was enough to sink the Football Ferns, who had a goal disallowed themselves.
Switzerland’s 0-0 draw with Norway meant that New Zealand will likely need a win to progress from Group A.
A similar state of affairs has occurred for Australia in Group B. Their surprise 3-2 loss to a brilliant Nigeria leaves the hosts third in Group B. They will need to beat Canada in their last match to advance as a result.
Group B also saw the first elimination of the tournament in Matchday 2 – Ireland. The Girls in Green lost 2-1 to Canada, thus ending their first-ever World Cup journey. Katie McCabe did score an incredible Olimpico goal, though.
|Group A||Group B|
|1) Switzerland, 4pts||1) Nigeria, 4pts|
|2) New Zealand, 3pts||2) Canada, 4pts|
|3) Philippines, 3pts||3) Australia, 3pts|
|4) Norway, 1pt||4) Ireland, 0pts|
Groups C and D: Japan, Spain through to R.O.16
Japan and Spain sealed their vice grip on Group C by both qualifying for the knockout stage. Nadeshiko beat Costa Rica 2-0 thanks to a pair of first-half goals, whilst Spain thrashed Zambia 5-0.
The two sides will now face-off in Matchday 3 to determine who tops the group.
Matchday 2 of Women’s World Cup Group D saw the Lionesses narrowly beat Denmark. Lauren James’ sublime early strike proved the difference as England took two wins from two.
However, they will be without key midfielder Keira Walsh for the foreseeable future. The Barcelona star picked up a knee injury during the first half.
China overcame an early red card to beat Haiti in the other Group D showdown. With this win, they continue to put pressure on Denmark and England at the top of the standings.
|Group C||Group D|
|1) Spain, 6pts||1) England, 6pts|
|2) Japan, 6pts||2) Denmark, 3pts|
|3) Costa Rica, 0pts||3) China, 3pts|
|4) Zambia, 0pts||4) Haiti, 0pts|
Groups E and F: Finely balanced groups set to go to the wire
The Netherlands earned a fantastic point against the USA to join America on four points after Matchday 2. Oranje took the lead against the reigning champs thanks to Jill Roord, but Lindsey Horan’s second-half leveller meant the two shared a point apiece.
Behind them, Portugal’s 2-0 victory over Vietnam ensured that three teams will be in the running for the qualification spots. Sadly, though, Vietnam’s Women’s World Cup ends after Matchday 2.
Group F is as close to call as Group E. Jamaica followed up their excellent draw with France by beating Panama 1-0. The Caribbean nation achieved this brilliant result even with star player Bunny Shaw suspended.
France, meanwhile, took a 2-1 win over Brazil in the marquee game of Matchday 2. Wendie Renard’s late header secured three points for Les Bleus over Selecao.
|Group E||Group F|
|1) USA, 4pts||1) France, 4pts|
|2) Netherlands, 4pts||2) Jamaica, 4pts|
|3) Portugal, 3pts||3) Brazil, 3pts|
|4) Vietnam, 0pts||4) Panama, 0pts|
Groups G and H: Sweden = dark horse team?
Sweden secured their safe passage to the knockouts thanks to a stunning win over Italy. The Scandinavians hammered their European counterparts 5-0, with Arsenal’s Amanda Ilestedt netting a brace.
Italy still holds second in the group for now due to Argentina and South Africa’s 2-2 draw. So, that second knockout slot in Group G is set for a thrilling conclusion.
Finally, Group H brought a surprise result to Women’s World Cup Matchday 2. Germany – one of the tournament favourites – suffered a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Colombia. The South Americans led for most of the game, however, Alexandra Popp’s last-minute penalty seemed to have rescued a point.
But Colombia was not interested in that. Instead, deep into injury time, Manuela Vanegas scored a winner to secure back-to-back victories.
|Group G||Group H|
|1) Sweden, 6pts||1) Colombia, 6pts|
|2) Italy, 3pts||2) Germany, 3pts|
|3) South Africa, 1pt||3) Morocco, 3pts|
|4) Argentina, 1pt||4) South Korea, 0pts|
Morocco then beat South Korea 1-0 to complete the Women’s World Cup Matchday 2 action.
As we can see, plenty of teams have it all to play for heading into the final round of group games. Will we see any shock surprises? And can the contenders avoid an unlikely early exit?
Featured image credit: Getty