WWC 2015: Best and Worst of Match Day 8 – 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

Colombia pulled off one of the all-time great World Cup upsets to beat France 2-0, blowing Group F wide open in the process.

After the opening exchanges saw, predictably, extended periods of French possession, it seemed a matter of when – not if – Les Bleues would open the scoring. Therefore, it was even more of a surprise when Colombia took the lead through Lady Andrade, slotting past Bouhaddi after Yoreli Rincon’s excellent turn and pass.

Whilst this could’ve, should’ve forced a response from France, Andrade’s goal had a profound impact on Bergeroo’s team who were easily shackled by the hardworking Colombian outfit for the remainder of the half.

France continued to dominate possession after the game but were never able to craft any significant chances, Louisa Necib once again kept relatively quiet – a disconcerting thought for the French.

It was Colombia, driven on by the superb Rincon, who looked the more likely to score. All the confidence and momentum swung the way of Las Cafeteras who would hunt in packs to win the ball back and use possession with real maturity.

The French pressure should have told when, midway through the second half, they were denied a clear penalty as Montoya stuck her hand out to steal the ball away from Le Sommer. It was one of the most blatant handballs and red cards you’ll ever see.

France almost equalized at the death when, throwing everyone forward, a cut back was smashed against the inside of the post by Lavogez. But Colombia took advantage of a mistake by Bouhaddi and with half of the French defence up field in search of an equalizer, Usme had the simplest of chances to seal a monumental victory for Colombian football.

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The ludicrous handball incident may steal the headlines but this game will be remembered for Colombia and their historic first World Cup win.

Elsewhere in Group F, England were deserved winners against a dogged Mexico side, running out 2-1 victors.

After a tense opening affair, Mexico wrestled control of the game, at one stage dominating the shot count 7-0. Charlyn Corral threatened on several occasions but Karen Bardsley remained untroubled in the England goal.

Gradually however, England grew into the game.

Fara Williams, deployed in a more defensive role to stifle the French last week, returned to the middle of the park and gained control of the game for England.

Lucy Bronze started a well-worked move down the right which saw Jill Scott fashion the best chance of the half for Fran Kirby but her tame effort was easily saved by Santiago.

Eniola Aluko troubled Mexico down the left hand side, driving at goal and pinging one from 25 yards. Santiago was rooted to the spot as the shot rattled the bar.

After the break England continued their momentum with the dangerous Aluko shooting wide before testing Santiago from inside the box.

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The pressure finally told for England when Kirby, one of England’s best on the day, collected a loose ball in the area, took a touch to set herself and poked the ball in off the post.

Karen Carney sealed the deal for The Three Lionesses ten minutes later when she combined with fellow substitute Alex Greenwood, nodding in the latter’s cross at the back post.

Mexico pushed hard for a goal in the final ten minutes and got their consolation when Karen Bardsley deflected Charlyn Corral’s shot into the path of Ibarra who made no mistake with the rebound.

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England should go into the group closer with Colombia with confidence whilst Mexico have it all to do against France.

Stand Out Performances

Yoreli Rincon largely drifted in and out of Colombia’s previous encounter against Mexico – flashes of brilliance aside. But here was the type of dazzling performance that reminded the world why she is so often likened to Marta. In a team display underlined by collective grit, discipline and determination, Rincon provided the attacking spark and drive that ultimately set the platform for victory. Her brilliant turn and pass provided the opening goal for Lady Andrade and she was a constant threat for the French back four who at times were completely bamboozled by Rincon’s quick feet. A match-winning display.

Lucy Bronze had the arduous task of stopping the threat of Louisa Necib against France, and she passed the test with flying colours. Against Mexico, Bronze was pivotal in forcing England up-field with her driving runs from right fullback. She constantly won fouls in dangerous positions, got to the by-line a number of times and on another day her cutbacks would have been converted. Fran Kirby, starting up front for the first time this tournament, was a complete nuisance for the Mexican backline and her all-action display merited the goal she produced.

Mexico’s dynamic attacking trio of Corral, Mayor and Perez continue to catch the eye with their flair, Mayor in particular has been hugely impressive. El Tri are a good team to watch when these three combine.

Talking Points

Daniela Montoya has had an eventful World Cup so far, scoring Colombia’s first World Cup goal and playing a big part in their first win. Her deliberate handball – missed by the referee – is an incident that will unfortunately pile more pressure on referees whose performance have come under scrutiny so far this tournament. Let’s hope it doesn’t overshadow Colombia’s win.

Louisa Necib is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest talents but has struggled to impose herself at this World Cup so far. An early substitution against Colombia, at a time France were in dire need of a goal, may hint at a deeper problem.

Needs Work

France are struggling to justify their pre-tournament hype. For the second game in a row they have struggled to break down weaker opposition, especially around the penalty area. It speaks of a lack of cutting edge to their structure at the moment – often too ponderous in possession, sideways passes and wasteful in areas of danger. Louisa Necib is being contained far too easily by opposition defences and their threatening pace on the counter-attack is lost when Elodie Thomis is not present on the right side of midfield. There is no doubt that complacency has crept in to the side and unless they put things right against Mexico they will not make an impression past the group stage.

England, for seventy minutes at least, appeared to be a side struggling with a mini-identity crisis. Mark Sampson’s ultra conservative change in formation and personnel against France might have had a lasting effect on his charges who were disjointed and struggling for cohesion in the opening exchanges against Mexico, and in several periods throughout the match.

Sampson has praised his team for their fluidity and adaptability to change but it’s more difficult to make this switch in the midst of a big-game tournament where margin for error is zero. Perhaps this win will get them shifting through the gears again. England are better than what they’ve shown so far this tournament.

When you have a forward as adept as holding up the ball and bringing others into play as Charlyn Corral, it’s tempting to lump it up to her at every opportunity. However, Mexico have fallen guilty during these games of forgetting where their real quality rests; when they get Mayor on the ball and move it quickly up either flank. The Mexicans have been pleasantly surprising at this World Cup and with a little more discipline with the ball they could be even better.

What Next?

The final Group F fixtures are on the 17th of June where Mexico host France and England have a mouth-watering clash with Colombia.

Goal of the Day

Lady Andrade’s cool finish set up Colombia’s giant killing of France. The goal was all Yoreli Rincon’s work however: a superb turn took three defenders out of the game and she had the vision to bend a gorgeous ball into the path of Andrade.

Miss of the Day

We all make mistakes but this one was particularly painful to watch. Miss of the day goes to Qin Lang who missed a deliberate handball from Daniela Montoya at a pivotal time in the match. A shocker from the referee, she’ll be the first to admit.

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