WWC 2015: Best and Worst of Match Day 11 – Group F

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Our daily guide to the best and the worst of today’s Group F action in the 2015 Women’s World Cup!

The best and worst of Group F

What Happened

After France and England established early leads, what was meant to be an open final match day of Group F turned out to be straight shoot out for goal difference.

A confident opening 20 minutes from England saw Karen Carney slot home after Sepulveda spilled Alex Greenwood’s free kick.

Their lead was doubled before the break when Carolina Arias was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. It might have been a harsh call against Arias but Fara Williams made no mistake from the spot – just: Sepulveda almost made amends for her role in England’s opener.

The final third of the game was a scrappy affair, the highlight being Lady Andrade’s injury-time consolation. Colombia caught the England defence snoozing and Andrade latched onto the pass before lifting the ball over Bardsley.

Another needless late goal will frustrate Mark Sampson’s team but this was easily their best performance of the tournament so far; one in which they largely had full control of and will hope to replicate against Norway in the Round of 16.

Mexico entered their final Group F game knowing only a win would give them a chance of qualifying for the Round of 16. Before the game they might have sensed an opportunity against a weakened France missing Louisa Necib and coming off a shock-loss to Colombia.

It took all of 30 seconds for France to dispel any doubts.

Elodie Thomis stretched the Mexican defence with her lightening pace and the ball was deflected into the path of Marie Laure Delie who tapped home.

After captain Wendie Renard rose highest to nod in Abily’s corner, Eugenie Le Sommer’s quick fire brace gave France a commanding 4-0 lead at half time.

Mexico tried to rally after the break but with the result secured the game petered out until Amandine Henry’s superb strike from 25 yards consigned Mexico to their third World Cup exit.

Stand Out Performers

Fara Williams and Karen Carney both got their name on the scoresheet for England but they were key in controlling the game from the first whistle. Williams, with all her experience, dictated possession for the Three Lionesses and a few well timed interventions prevented Colombia from mounting any meaningful attack. Carney, in a more offensive role, was a constant threat carrying the ball from deep and creating all sorts of problems for the Colombian defence. Surely she’s earned a starting berth for the knockout phase.

England were cautious and tentative throughout the opening two fixtures but in this game the handbrake was released, allowing for a more cavalier approach. Alex Greenwood was instrumental in getting forward down the left hand side and she has proven more than potent from set pieces.

There was all-round attacking quality on display when France hammered Mexico but Amandine Henry should receive deserved praise for closing the most dangerous Mexican outlets, Mayor and Perez, out of the game. Mexico have hurt the opposition when Mayor has found the ball but Henry’s discipline and strength saw that they were unable to gain a sniff of goal. She also proved effective with the ball and arguably scored one of the goals of the tournament, France’s fifth, when she let fly from 25 yards.

Talking Points

Eyebrows were raised when Louisa Necib was absent from France’s starting line-up. The playmaker has been well marshalled so far this tournament and has struggled to make an impression. We thought her early substitution last week against Colombia might have been symptomatic of a deeper issue and she seems to have lost her place in the team because of it. Whether this is Philippe Bergeroo making a statement, or simply an issue of fitness we will have to see.

There were a few controversial refereeing incidents when England took on Colombia, not least the penalty incident that led to England’s second goal. Sandra Sepulveda may have seen red on a different day when she took out Jodie Taylor – appearing to be the last defensive player back in the process.

Needs Work

If England are going to go further than the Round of 16 this tournament they will need to improve their concentration in vital moments. It’s the second consecutive game that they have dropped off and conceded a late consolation goal. They will need to halt this worrying theme otherwise a team of greater quality will be dumping the English out of the tournament.

Colombia were mostly unable to trouble England which is disappointing considering how much danger they posed in their other performances. A lack of width prevented genuine changes to get at England on the counter and they were guilty of sending the ball through the middle where England were easily able to suppress them. Colombia also lacked pace going forward, perhaps Lady Andrade – Colombia’s best player on the day – will be shifted back up front to rectify this problem.

What Next

Group winners France will play Korea Republic on the 21st of June. England face Norway on the 22nd of June. Colombia will play the USA, also on the 22nd of June. Mexico are eliminated.

Goal of the Day

There’s only contender here: Amandine Henry’s wonder-strike for France. She took the ball 25 yards out and had all the time in the world to smash her shot into the top right hand corner. One of the goals of the tournament so far from an unlikely source.

Miss of the Day

With misses at a premium this morning, let’s plump for Colombia’s Arias who had the chance to pull one back for Colombia before half time. It was a similar chance to the one that led to Andrade’s consolation but on this occasion Karen Bardsley stood tall to deny Arias her first World Cup goal.

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