Women’s World Cup co-hosts Canada held on for a 4-0 victory. The pressure was good, now you want more.
Sharing red and white as their national colors, Switzerland and Canada carefully maintain their reputations as polite, peaceful people. However, Canadian soccer players have done more for their image than Switzerland over the past two days. The Maple Leafs provided the extras for a stunning Australian resurrection from 0-4 when the cross-clad players ousted New Zealand’s World Cup co-hosts.
In eight previous Women’s World Cups, the hosts have never been knocked out in the group stage. New Zealand’s thrashing was not a sensation, with the “football ferns” ranked 26th in the FIFA rankings, behind Norway (12) and Switzerland (20). Ranked 10th in the world and losing in the Olympic semi-finals, it would have been a huge disappointment.
Kerrin stepped out of the shadows
With a fortunate 1-0 victory thanks to a penalty goal against Ireland on their World Cup debut and a thrilling 2-3 defeat against Nigeria, Australian footballers known as the “Matildas” (after the folk song “Waltzing Matildas”) found themselves. An uncomfortable situation, Chelsea star Sam Kerr with a calf injury and dangerous questions centering on coach Toni Gustavsson keeping the severity of the injury a secret throughout the two group games, saw him at least sit out the decisive match against Canada. on the bench.
A crowd of 27,706 filled AAMI Park to the last seat from Rod Laver Arena, where Roger Federer won the Australian Open six times. Australians are generally comfortable with their backs against a wall. “Matildas” stayed true to this tradition. Using every trick in the book, the Olympic champions from Canada were almost mocked with speed and athleticism. Hayley Raso, who scored two goals, and 20-year-old Mary Fowler, who were mostly in a reserve role at Manchester City last season, stepped out of Kerr’s long shadow and created an attacking firework.
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The relief must be huge, and not just among the leaders of the Australian Association. They want to use a home World Cup to stabilize soccer in their home, sports-crazy country, with big competition and women’s issues in general. This is one of the reasons why they strongly opposed Saudi Arabia, a sponsor of the tournament, which FIFA is considering. Figurehead’s failure would have been devastating.
After the 4-0 gala, the mood has now completely turned. “On Sunday, someone asked if this would be our defining moment in our legacy,” Tony Gustavson said. “It was such a moment and we didn’t hide from it.” And Chloe Locarzo, senior and reserve, said, “We inspired a nation.”
Now against the motherland?
They can push the cricket stars who are currently playing against England for the prestigious “Ashes” trophy from the front pages of sports news. After all, there could be a particularly emotional clash with the former colonial power in Sydney in Round 16.
Besides the UK, potential opponents include Denmark and China. By then Sam Kerr will be fit again – certainly more motivated and rested.
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