WWC 2015: Best and Worst of Match Day 6 – Group A

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

The best and worst of Group A

What Happened

It seemed to like the final result between China and Netherlands was going to be a draw until the very final minutes of the match. It was an injury time winner by Lisi Wang which enabled China to win 1-0 against the more experienced side. The win was well-deserved by the Chinese who surprisingly dominated much of the game considering their side’s youthful nature.

The Netherlands were very quiet throughout most of the match with China’s defence deterring any potential threat. Vivienne Miedema, who was predicted to be a key player in the national team, was left silenced for the majority of the game.

The second half saw the Netherlands have bursts of possession but it was just as quickly reigned back in by the Chinese national team.

China led an attacking onslaught which even saw Tang try a long range shot that hit the cross bar. If this went it, it would have easily been one of the best goals of the tournament.

The pursuit for a winning goal was relentless by China with substitute Jun Ma having a great opportunity to score with a short-range volley which flew right over the goal.

The winner came out of nowhere. A long lob which seemed to have travelled the entire field in length almost seemed too far to reach until Lisi Wang sprinted past her marker, drawing out the keeper to shoot the ball into the far end of the goal.

China’s defender Li Dongna deservedly won Player of the Match after ensuring that the Netherlands’ attacking force were kept quiet. This in particular was seen by the difference in the amount of shots on target between the two sides with the Netherlands having eight against China’s 27.

Canada and New Zealand hadn’t met in a competitive match since the Pacific Cup in 2000 and the hosts had their sights on a win or draw to push them to the top of Group A.

Despite the ridiculous weather which had delayed play for 30 minutes, the game continued and both sides had plenty of opportunities to score a goal.

New Zealand had the first chance of the match with a header that was saved by Canadian keeper Erin McLeod.

It was then only thirty minutes into the match when it seemed like the visitors were going to head into the lead only for Erin Hearn’s penalty to crash into the crossbar.

Melissa Tancredi soon had the ball in the net for Canada but celebrations were halted after she was deemed offside by the referee.

The chances continued for the home side with captain Christine Sinclair sending a creative volley that was barely saved. The shot pushed New Zealand keeper Erin Nayler to defy gravity and tip the ball with the edge of her fingers into the cross bar.

Tancredi also found an opening in New Zealand’s defence later on in the match but she was simply unable to put it past the goalkeeper, which is a credit to Nayler who went on to win player of the match.

The match concluded at a stalemate between both sides with New Zealand’s best chances coming from the first half whilst Canada had many of the chances in the second.

Stand Out Performers

Defender Li Donga from China was exceptional and did not switch off her focus for the entire match. She was one of the crucial reasons for why there weren’t many threats from the Netherlands.

Talking Points

With thunderbolts and lightning it was a very very frightening match between Canada and New Zealand around the time of kick-off. The match was suspended for thirty minutes after only a couple of minutes of play and one could even argue post-match that the storm was the most exciting part of the game.

What it means

Following Day 6 the hosts have moved into the top of the group with four points. Trailing just behind are China and Netherlands on three points. The Football Ferns [as expected] are in fourth position.

Needs Work

The lack of experience in the Chinese national team selected for the 2015 Women’s World Cup could lead to its ultimate demise. The loss of their first Group Stage match seemed to have a massive effect on moral and it was certainly interesting to see how such a youthful side dealt with the loss.

This was reiterated by China’s coach Wei Hao who post-match praised the side despite their lack of experience of playing in a tournament in the world stage.

“Our players were under a lot of pressure after losing the first match. Today they showcased their true abilities and I am so proud of them. We should have scored more although this team is very young and lacks international experience. However, they executed the game plan well and I’m delighted with their performance”.

Both New Zealand and Canada need to work on becoming more clinical in the box, especially when it matters at this level. But perhaps it was the weather that ultimately created the conditions for the stalemate between the sides.

What Next

Current leaders Canada will be taking on the Netherlands with the winner potentially taking top spot. China will have something to say about that themselves as they take on New Zealand, who will be looking to try and jump off the bottom and into a qualification spot.

Goal of the Day

With no other goal scored today from Group A, the Goal of the Day was subsequently awarded to Lisi Wang. It all began from a cross by Tan R Y which set the scene for the 91st minute goal.

The ball looked as though it was going to be sent too far but Lisi Wang managed to sprint past her marker to cleverly shoot the ball into the opposite corner of the goal.

Miss of the Day

The miss of the day has been awarded to the Football Ferns’ Erin Hearn. New Zealand were awarded a penalty after Hannah Wilkinson was brought down in the box and it was expected that Hearn would score.

The chance for New Zealand to go into the lead was in the hands of Hearn but it was completely destroyed as her shot flew directly into the crossbar.

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Jessica Csaszar
Jessica joined the team for 2014 covering Western Sydney Wanderers in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League.

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