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Women’s World Cup recap: England edge Haiti and USA win comfortably

Find here the recap of the openers of two Women’s World Cup contenders, England and the USWNT


England faced a nerve-racking encounter against tournament newcomers Haiti, scraping through with a narrow victory in Brisbane. Meanwhile, the United States, on a quest for an unprecedented third consecutive title, showcased their dominance with a comfortable win over Women’s World Cup debutants Vietnam in Auckland.

England 1-0 Haiti – Lionesses lacklustre but grind out the win

England‘s Women’s World Cup 2023 campaign got off to a nerve-wracking start as they narrowly clinched a victory against tournament debutants Haiti in their opening Group D match in Brisbane. The Lionesses, led by manager Sarina Wiegman, produced a lacklustre performance, but a perfectly-taken penalty by Georgia Stanway secured the crucial three points.

The match took an early twist when Haiti’s goalkeeper, Kerly Theus, made an impressive save to deny Stanway’s initial penalty attempt. However, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervention deemed Theus had stepped off her line too early, prompting a re-take. Stanway kept her composure and made no mistake the second time around, securing England‘s slender lead.

Throughout the game, England struggled to find their rhythm, much like their display in the opening match of Euro 2022 against Austria. Creativity and sharpness were lacking, and Haiti, ranked 53rd in the world, capitalized on the Lionesses’ vulnerabilities. Young talent Melchie Dumornay impressed the most for Haiti, constantly threatening England’s defense with her skill and attacking prowess.

Captain Millie Bright, making her first appearance since recovering from knee surgery in March, had a challenging time coping with Haiti’s offensive efforts. Meanwhile, England’s striker Alessia Russo, preferred over Women’s Super League Golden Boot winner Rachel Daly, had her fair share of chances but was repeatedly denied by the impressive Haitian goalkeeper.

In the second half, England had opportunities to increase their lead, but Haiti’s resilience kept them in the game. A standout moment came when England’s goalkeeper, Mary Earps, produced a brilliant save to deny Roseline Eloissaint’s close-range strike, one of Haiti’s biggest chances to equalize.

Despite the uninspired performance, England managed to hold on to their lead and secure the win. The victory maintains their impressive record under manager Sarina Wiegman, having lost just once in 33 games.

Next up for the Lionesses is a crucial encounter against Denmark in their second Group D match on Friday. Wiegman’s side will need to address their shortcomings and find their attacking flair to overcome a determined Danish team.

USA 3-0 Vietnam – Title defence bid launched with convincing win

In contrast, the United States launched their bid for an unprecedented third consecutive Women’s World Cup title with a dominant display against debutants Vietnam in Auckland. The four-time world champions comfortably secured a win, delighting thousands of traveling USA fans in a crowd of 41,107.

Sophia Smith, one of the 14 players making their World Cup debut, shone for the US team, scoring two goals before halftime. Her first was a low, drilled finish from a tight angle, showcasing her prowess in front of goal. The second goal, however, required VAR intervention to check for offside, but Smith’s effort was eventually awarded.

USA captain Lindsey Horan sealed the victory with a well-taken goal in the 77th minute, assisted by the impressive Smith. Vietnam’s goalkeeper, Tran Thi Kim Thanh, proved to be a hero for her team, saving Alex Morgan‘s penalty after Trinity Rodman was fouled.

Despite Vietnam’s gritty defensive efforts, they struggled to break free from their own half and could not pose a significant threat to the number-one ranked team in the world.

With a confident start to their campaign, the United States reaffirms its status as a formidable force in women’s football and will, for sure, be a team to watch throughout the tournament.

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