THE DAY REPLAYED – Groups A and B played their second games of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ as Thailand and Côte d’Ivoire celebrated historic goals, two former world champions battled to a draw and Edmonton saw its fair share of drama including a late China PR winner before a thunderstorm disrupted proceedings as Canada were held to a goalless draw by coach John Herdman’s former side.
ResultsGroup AChina PR 1-0 Netherlands Canada 0-0 New Zealand
Group BGermany 1-1 Norway Côte d’Ivoire 2-3 Thailand
Goal of the dayGermany 1–1 Norway, Maren Mjelde (61’) With Germany controlling large portions of the match, Norway were having trouble finding a way back into the match after the Germans took an early lead. That is, however, until Maren Mjelde stepped up to take a free-kick right on the edge of the area with 30 minutes remaining. Mjelde chose precision over power as her shot curled delicately up and over the wall, away from goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who did not even attempt to get a hand to the Norway No6’s effort. Glancing just off the underside of the crossbar and nestling into the top corner with perfect placement, Mjelde’s goal earned her Scandinavian side a well-deserved point.
Memorable momentsFirst things firstIt was a historic day of firsts at Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa as Thailand and Côte d’Ivoire both scored their first-ever goals at the Women’s World Cup. Thailand also registered their first-ever points at the competition, a feat that was widely celebrated among the War Elephants after the final whistle. Most of the players remained on the field for more than 20 minutes after the match taking selfies to commemorate the significant day. And once they left the dressing room, they continued their celebrations en route to their bus with a member of the Thai delegation proudly hoisting a portrait of their royal family.
Making friends with a young mascot After coming off their 10-0 victory against Côte d’Ivoire on Sunday, German spirits were unsurprisingly high as they entered Lansdowne Stadium before their clash with Norway. Silvia Neid’s side looked calm and relaxed as they, too, took selfies with one another before heading to their dressing room to prepare for pre-match warm-ups. And with kick-off moments away, Germany striker Celia Sasic queued up next to the mascot paired with her.
Looking unsettled, Sasic asked the young girl, “Are you nervous?” The young Canadian sheepishly affirmed with a nod of the head.
“You don't have to be nervous,” Sasic said with a smile. “Just enjoy the occasion. My name is Celia, what is yours?" And with that, the two entered the pitch, hand-in-hand, with another memory made for the young fan.
Somewhere over the rainbow Less than five minutes into the final match of the evening, hosts Canada and New Zealand were forced to retreat to their dressing rooms under order of the referee after thunderstorm rolled through Edmonton. During the break in action, the fans inside Commonwealth Stadium were treated to a delightful rainbow, arcing ever-so-beautifully across one end of the ground to the other. There was, however, no pot of gold to be found at the end of it for either side as the Group A contest ended goalless.
Late winner leaves China PR with a lifeline With only three goals scored in four games in Edmonton, each strike has understandably been bearing a lot of influence on the standings in Group A’s table. China PR were undone by a 92nd-minute Christine Sinclair penalty in their first game, leaving the USA 1999 runners-up heartbroken. Chinese fortunes were reversed, though, when Wang Lisi’s 91st-minute strike sunk the Netherlands and handed three points to the east Asians, good enough for second place in the group going into their last group match against New Zealand.
The stat 27 – Thailand striker Orathai Srimanee, who scored a brace and took home Live Your Goals Player of the Match honours against Côte d’Ivoire, will be celebrating her 27th birthday on Friday by reveling in the War Elephants’ historic first victory at the Women’s World Cup.
The words“We are very lucky, because even though we had less attacking chances, we got our first victory in our country's history. We respect Côte d'Ivoire; they played very well. We are honoured to be playing the best team in the world, Germany, in our next match, and will do our absolute best to win.” Thailand’s proud and humble coach,Nuengrutai Srathongvian.