Who is the “Group of Death?”
Invariably there are pundits everywhere trying to figure that out for both the men’s and women’s World Cup. This year and for the women’s World Cup there was only one choice — Group D.
D for Death, right? Either that or three of the highest possibly ranked teams in that four-team grouping. On Monday it was Australia, the USWNT and Sweden taking center stage.
Oh, and all of that happened while Group C happened to attempt to play the game at all.
Could anyone take control in such a difficult group? Were there surprises? What about an Alex Morgan sighting or a pass connecting to Abby Wambach for a game-winner?
We’ve got all your answers right here though, as we bring you the daily recap for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
1) Biggest Winner — Nigeria
Like there was any other choice here? Nigeria’s 3-3 tie stands as easily the biggest surprise result of the Women’s World Cup this time around. Sure we’re in early days but after seeing 4-0 between Norway and Thailand and 10-0 by Germany over Ivory Coast, seeing competitive soccer being played was a nice change of pace.
It was also refreshing to know the “haves” and the “have nots” of women’s soccer are getting a bit closer in competitiveness.
2) Biggest Loser — Sweden’s defense
A 1-1 tie isn’t the end of the world in group play, even for a team thought of as one of the favorites to at least get out of the group stage. However, Sweden faces the United States up next and could be in a must-win situation to keep pace with the United States after its 3-1 win over Australia. So, letting in three goals against arguably the weakest of the three opponents can’t bode well for the Swedish prospects in group play.
The 3-3 tie was bad enough on its face, but you can bet the USWNT and Australia are licking their chops at taking on the defense that showcased itself on Monday afternoon. Simply put, Sweden’s defense was awful. They couldn’t figure out how to stop a through ball for for most of the second half, clearances went to no one in particular and at times the group was more desperate than in control. Not championship material.
While we could’ve gone with the defense that let in six goals on the day (Ecuador), let’s just say our expectations for the South American side were much lower than the Swedish’s expectations were.
It may have actually been the biggest loser of them all in the first day of action in Group D.
3) Standout Performer — Megan Rapinoe, United States
It seemed like an easy pick coming in to the game and the tournament. After all, Rapinoe is considered one of the best midfielders in the game today. She reminded us of all her tremendous skill and importance to the USWNT on Monday night.
Rapinoe had four shots, two of which were on net and both happened to go in to the back of the net. Scoring a brace against a top 10 side in the world was impressive. Even more impressive is how Rapinoe just simply took this game over.
4) Results of the Day:
Sweden 3 (Oparanozie 21′ OG; Fischer 31′; Sembrant 60′) Nigeria 3 (Okobi 50′; Oshoala 53′; Ordega 87′)
Cameroon 6 (Ngono Mani 34′; Enganamouit 36′, 73′, 90’+4 PEN; Manie 44′ PEN; Aboudi Onguene 79′ PEN) Ecuador 0
United States 3 (Rapinoe 12′, 78′; Press 61′) Australia 1 (De Vanna 27′)
Japan 1 (Miyama 29′ PEN) Switzerland 0
5) Best Goal — Francisca Ordega, Nigeria
6) Best Tweet
Whenever we see the White, Black, and fluorescent marker pen yellow of the United States flag, we go all emotional #courage
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 8, 2015
7) Best Moment — American Outlaws
Maybe it’s being partial to the good ol’ USA, but there hasn’t been an atmosphere at a match in this World Cup like the one that was there for the USA vs. Australia on Monday night. A lot of that had to do with a huge contingent of the now famous (infamous) American Outlaws.
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) June 8, 2015
They traveled in huge numbers to the neighbors to the North, and it was the first time we heard continuous singing and chanting and passion from the fans all World Cup long. No doubt there have been some cool moments in other matches so far, but having that kind of support can be a real difference maker at this level.
7) Biggest Surprise — 3 goals from Nigeria
Could we have picked the drubbing that Cameroon put on Ecuador for this spot or anywhere else on the day? Maybe, but let’s also remember no one had a clue if Ecuador or Cameroon were any good, and we still won’t thanks to Group C being perhaps the weakest group in the tournament. Call me impressed if Cameroon scores again in this tournament.
However, the other CAF team in the tournament stole the show for me.
Yes, the tie with Sweden was surprising, but let’s consider one fact about the Super Eagles coming in to this version of the Women’s World Cup. Nigeria came in to this one with nine pervious games of experience in the Women’s World Cup and just two goals to show for it all. Yes, TWO goals in NINE matches. I don’t know how you get from that point to this other than effort and a complete break down by Sweden’s defense too.