WWC 2015: Best and Worst of Match Day 5 – Group E

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After Group E’s first rumble, it is only Brazil who walks away with three points, while Spain and Costa Rica will take one point each. None for Gretchen Wieners South Korea, bye.

The best and worst of Group E
What Happened

Group E’s first round kicked-off with Spain v Costa Rica which was an even-sided 1-1 draw. Spain were first to score in the 13th minute courtesy of Vicky Losada who got the ball on the edge of the box, controlled it with her first touch then sent it flying past Costa Rican goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz to secure Spain their first ever World Cup goal.

The euphoria was short-lived however with Costa Rica equalizing within a minute.

A well-placed long ball from Wendy Acosta found Carolina Venegas who tapped it onto Lixy Rodriguez to cross to an unmarked Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno. From then on, Spain dominated the game but weren’t able to capitalize on their considerable opportunities with the Costa Rican defense holding strong.

Brazil v South Korea started off slightly slower with the group favourites scoring in the 33rd minute. A fatal error in the form of a weak back-pass from Kim Doyeon saw 37-year-old Formiga (which means ‘ant’ in Portuguese) intercept the pass and send it swishing into the back of Korean goalkeeper Kim Jungmi’s net.

Formiga is now the oldest ever goal scorer at a Women’s World Cup.

The Korean’s seemed to be defending well and were keeping Brazil’s advances under control until a foul from Cho Sohyun in the 53rd minute earned her a yellow card and a penalty, which Marta took to double the lead and make her the World Cup’s greatest ever scorer.

Stand Out Performances

Spain’s captain Veronica Boquete didn’t stop trying and was a stand-out performer in the second half especially. Equally, Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz did well to stop a barrage of on-target shots from the Spanish señoritas who were looking much more dangerous towards the end of the match.

South Korean forward Jeon Gaeul was one of the few on her team to be moving forward with urgency and trying to create momentum in front of Brazil’s goal, although she could have done more with the opportunities she had.

Marta only showed us how fantastic she is towards the very end when she managed to dribble her way through three Korean defenders so it was the veteran Formiga with the most consistent performance for the Brazilians.

Talking Points

The turnout for these games was really average but maybe people are saving their pennies for the bigger matches. After today’s performances it’s hard to say who will be in the three potential qualifying places with only Brazil looking more dangerous than the other teams.

South Korea held themselves well against the South American powerhouse and despite the score should be able to go forward against Costa Rica with confidence. Spain will have their work cut out for them to do damage to the Brazilians.

What it Means

At this early stage all teams are still in with a chance with only Brazil moving forward with three points while Spain and Costa Rica both have one point. It should be said, however, that four of the six third-placed teams in each of the groups will progress to the next round which means that it’s perfectly plausible for a team with only one win to qualify!

Needs Work

Overall, we saw solid performances from all teams in Group E with no one appearing “outclassed” although South Korea’s attacking intensity needs to be turned up a few notches if they hope to make an impression at the group stage. Despite playing well for the most part in defense they weren’t playing offensively enough and we all know: if you don’t shoot, you don’t score!

At the same time, I believe we only saw flashes of Brazilian brilliance so they too may want to lift their intensity even if they are feeling pretty comfortable at this point.

Spain and Costa Rica, likewise, needed to make more of their chances in front of goal and apply pressure at the crucial moments although Spain will have been disappointed to walk away with only one point after clearly dominating the second half.

What Next

The next round will take place on the 13th of June at Moncton Stadium which will see Brazil play Spain and Costa Rica against South Korea.

Goal of the Day

Costa Rica’s smooth play and quick passing made for a very attractive-looking goal indeed. Textbook stuff.

Miss of the Day

South Korea’s Jeon Gaeul really should have scored when she was given a well-placed cross inside the box with time at her disposal but instead sent the ball wide of Brazil’s goal. Better luck next time.

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