After a day off for rest following a flurry of games in the opening round for every group, the second group stage matchups began in earnest on Thursday. Groups A and B got back to action after games over the first two days of the tournament and a lot still left to sort out amongst them.
In Group B there was a massive matchup with European powers Germany and Norway clashing after thrashing fellow group members Ivory Coast and Thailand respectively. Group A featured host nation Canada and the Netherlands hoping to separate themselves after opening round wins.
Did Day 5 of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup provide any clarity to the knockout stage scenarios? Were we entertained?
Let’s get to the moments you need to know from an intriguing day of action.
1) Biggest Winner — Thailand
After losing its opening match in this Women’s World Cup, Thailand faced fellow weakling of Group B — Ivory Coast. Which one would prove to be the bigger minnow? It looked like the Ivory Coast early on, as it jumped to a 1-0 lead in just the fourth minute of the match.
Instead, Thailand roared back with three unanswered goals and controlled the game until a very late second goal made for a nervous final few minutes for the Thai side. Rather than completely folding, Thailand stood up strong in the final moments to hold on to a 3-2 scoreline.
That win was the first for the Asian side and that’s something to be celebrated. On a day devoid of shocking results or a lot of sorting out in the groups, Thailand putting itself in a position to possibly move out of the group stage is a MASSIVE win.
2) Biggest Loser — Officiating
It’s time to get to brass tax here, and talk about how Thailand was able to beat the Ivory Coast. The elephant (pun intended) in the room was the absolutely terrible officiating that took place in this match.
Thailand’s second goal was shown to be offsides upon further review, but hard to fault the linesman as it was just a hair (or really a toe) off of the Ivory Coast’s last defender back. However, Thailand’s third goal should’ve never happened for sure.
After playing a ball in the air forward, Thailand’s Anootsara Maijarern was about five yards offsides and the linesman never put her flag up. What the ref in the middle with the whistle was looking at also remains to be figured out.
Either way, it’s highly questionable that Thailand should’ve come away with the full points. Despite the ref errors, credit Thailand for playing through until a whistle blew. It’s not exactly their fault the officials blew major calls.
3) Standout Performer — Dzsenifer Marozsan, Germany
What is a player who didn’t score a brace and who’s team did win doing here? Well, one watch of the Germany-Norway clash would reveal the reasons why. Marozsan dominated possession, did a great job of linking play between the defense and offense and was an all-around player.
Germany doesn’t get a point without her effort in the midfield, and if you haven’t seen it find a way to watch Marozsan’s performance. It was truly a master class in why the stat sheet is mostly useless in the world of soccer (outside shots on goal and the final score).
Besides, Sirmanee’s brace for Thailand should never have been aloud to happen. Let’s just say Marozsan outclassed any player on the pitch in the four matches played today.
4) Results of the Day:
Germany 1 (Mittag 6′) Norway 1 (Mjedle 61′)
China 1 (Wang L S 90’+1) Netherlands 0
Ivory Coast 2 (N. Ange 4′; Nahi Josee 88′) Thailand 3 (O. Sirmanee 26′, 45’+3; T. Chawong 75′)
Canada 0 New Zealand 0
5) Tweet/Social Media of the Day
— Matt Brown (@bracketbluster) June 12, 2015
6) Goal of the Day — Maren Mjedle, Norway
With Germany up 1-0 and time beginning to get scarce, the Norwegian’s came up with arguably the best free kick of the tournament. In fact, a coach couldn’t draw it up any better than what took place here:
Yes, that’s Maren Mjelde putting the ball literally in the upper corner of the net…a.k.a the place where no goalkeeper will ever want to venture. Well done (and on my top three list of goals from the Women’s World Cup so far).
7) Best Moment — GAME ON FOR CANADA & NEW ZEALAND!
Foul weather early on in the game between Canada and New Zealand nearly forced the postponement of the match (and a 30 minute weather delay). However, once the storms moved out of Edmonton the weather turned beautiful and the beautiful game was able to go on.
— Ryan Varty (@VartyCamera) June 12, 2015