July 7th, 2011
Midweek Results, Pt I: Women & Wonder Goals
Goalkeepers, be warned. Stay on your line when England’s Ellen White is around. Image: Reuters/Daylife
Right. Before you lot start having panic attacks that we’ve got distracted by a passing cake lorry and forgotten to cover the Copa America again, fear not. Today we shall supply you with not one, but two Midweek Results posts; one covering the Women’s World Cup (this one) and one covering the Copa America (hitting your screens later).
We know. Sometimes our diligence and attention to detail is frightening.
Inka Grings. We’ve been known to pull this move too, but usually only on tables after midnight in cocktail bars. Image: Reuters/Daylife
With a poorly performing Birgit Prinz benched, Germany showed some of the mettle that saw them lift every trophy worth having in the past ten years by beating France 4-2 in their last group game. Inka Grings provided two of the goals and an assist to Okoyino da Mbabi in a frenetic match that also saw French keeper Berangere Sapowicz pick up a red card, the first of the tournament. Germany finish top of the group with an unbeaten record, while France qualify for the next round in second, having comfortably beaten Canada and Nigeria in their first two group games. They face England in the next round, while Germany meet Japan.
For their part, Nigeria beat a deflated Canada 1-0 in their game and finished third. Canada, despite valiant effort, finshed bottom and failed to pick up a point.
Despite failing to shake off the curse that strikes all England football teams in the group stages of major tournaments, England’s ladies finished top of Group B with an impressive display against Japan. The game finished 2-0, and while Japan’s pressure was impressive, the highlight of the proceedings was always going to be a fabulous lob from Ellen White, who took advantage of keeper Ayumi Kaihori’s wanderings in the penalty area and smashed home from twenty two yards. Watch it and weep, Kickettes.
Speaking of crying, Mexican fans will be drowning their sorrows, after their first win in the Women’s World Cup ever was thwarted by New Zealand in stoppage time. Having been 2-0 down for ninety minutes, first Rebecca Smith and then Hannah Wilkinson scored to earn their first point in the tourney and break Mexican hearts. They were both out anyway, but it doesn’t help, does it?
The idea of facing Marta and her Brazilian mates in the next round would probably make us feel like that too, Hope Solo. Image: Getty Images/Daylife
The fact that the US were everyone’s favourite to win Group C obviously irked Sweden, who pulled off the shock of the tournament so far with a 2-1 win over their American rivals. A penalty from Lisa Dahlqvist and deflected Nilla Fischer free kick did the damage, but the USWNT don’t have time to dwell; their second place finish sees them face Brazil in the next round. Gulp. Sweden, having won the group with a full compliment of nine points, will face Australia.
Columbia and North Korea finished their tournament with a 0-0 draw against each other. Sad but fitting, as despite their best efforts, neither team were able to score in their fixtures.
Kyah Simon. Surprisingly light on her feet, no? Image: Getty Images/Daylife
Brazil finished their group campaign with a 3-0 win against Equatorial Guinea, who, to be fair, are probably relieved that the scoreline remained in single digits. We liked Equatorial Guinea, and are disappointed that they are leaving but would like to offer our hearty applause for some entertaining performances and the two goals they scored in their first ever international tournament. Unfortunately, we think their presence will be remembered for this, but you can’t have everything.
In the other Group D game, Australia came from a goal behind to beat Norway 2-1 and snatch second place. Kyah Simon scored twice for the Matildas, and the Norwegians exit in the group stages for the first time.
Quarter final fixtures are here. Tell us what you think, Kickettes. Who’s looking good for the win?