What a day for football, Barcelona defeated Juventus in the Champions League Final and the first games of the 2015 Women’s World Cup have commenced as hosts Canada took on China in the first game and New Zealand faced the Netherlands in the later game.
It was a sight to behold as 53,000 plus packed Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to see the opening game between the Canadian ladies and the Chinese squad.
The game was closely contested between both teams as both Canada and China had great opportunities to break the game open. China had a free kick that rocketed off both posts and somehow ended up not finding its way in. Canada also found posts of their own as Josee Belanger delivered a shot that found the corner where the crossbar and right post meet.
However, at the end of the half the scoreline was even at zero and the second half had much of the same. The match seemed like it was destined for a zero-all draw, until some late match drama changed the outcome of the game.
In stoppage time, a high elbow by Zhao Rong on Canada’s Adriana Leon in the box led to official Kateryna Monzul calling a penalty in favor of Canada. Captain Christine Sinclair took the penalty and just managed to squeeze it in on the right side of the left post to see her side go up 1-0.
Canada would end up with the three points as the game would end soon after Sinclair’s 92nd minute goal, and China will go into their second game empty handed. After the game, the Canadian squad saluted their home crowd as they roared in joy, celebrating their victory.
Later, in the same venue, the New Zealand ladies’ team took on the Dutch in what would also be a very close game between the two squads. The match pitted the Netherlands, who are making their Women’s World Cup debut, against a plucky New Zealand squad that won the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.
It would be the Netherlands squad who would get the early edge with a fantastic goal by Lieke Martens, Martens delivered a screamer from the top of the 18-yard box that blew by New Zealand keeper Erin Nayler.
[h/t: Derek Tang]
The Football Ferns tried their hardest to get the equalizer, getting shot after shot on net, but in the end the Dutch defense held on to their one-goal lead and defeated the New Zealand ladies by a score of 1-0.
With these results Canada and the Netherlands are atop of Group A with three points and a goal differential of +1, meanwhile New Zealand and China sit in the bottom with no points and a -1 goal differential. The next Group A match day will take place on June 11th.