The United States started its bid for an unprecedented three-peat at the Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 win over Vietnam and followed it up with a 1-1 draw against Netherlands in a rematch of the 2019 final. Winning a third straight title won’t be easy for the No. 1 team in the world.
Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the quadrennial tournament for international soccer’s most coveted trophy kicked off July 20 and features an expanded field of 32 teams, up from 24. There are 64 matches during the tournament.
That means more competition for the two-time defending World Cup champion U.S., which won the 2015 event in Canada and the 2019 tournament in France. The Americans have won four titles overall, the most of any nation.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
Manuela Vanegas scored with a header in the seventh minute of stoppage time to seal Colombia’s 2-1 upset over Germany. Alexandra Popp had scored an 89th-minute penalty and seemed to have earned two-time champion Germany a 1-1 draw after 18-year-old Linda Caicedo had struck a stunning opener for Colombia. But there was more to unfold in a dramatic Group H game in Sydney.
After dropping its opening match 6-0 to Germany, Morocco rounded to beat South Korea 1-0 and becomes the first Arab Nation ever to win a game at a Women’s World Cup.
New Zealand outshot Switzerland and even moved goalkeeper Victoria Esson into an attack position several times but failed to break a 0-0 deadlock and became the first host nation to be eliminated in group play in Women’s World Cup history.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SCHEDULE
On Monday, co-host Australia needs to beat Olympic champion Canada to guarantee a place in the round of 16, and is hoping to get a boost from the expected return of star striker Sam Kerr. The Group B match kicks off at 8 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET ) at Melbourne. Nigeria will be aiming to advance when it takes on winless Ireland in Brisbane at the same time. There’s two games in Group C kicking off at 7 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) in New Zealand: Spain and Japan are equal on six points and will be vying for top spot in the group when they meet in Wellington, while Costa Rica and Zambia are aiming for their first wins of the tournament when they play in Hamilton.
On Tuesday, the defending champion U.S. team is aiming for a big win over Portugal in Auckland to finish atop Group E and secure a favorable path in the knockout round. Netherlands, coming off a 1-1 draw with the Americans in a rematch of the 2019 final, is playing Vietnam in Dunedin. Both matches kick off at 7 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) in New Zealand. The two Group D games kick off simultaneously but in different time zones in Australia. Group-leading England takes on China at 8:30 p.m. local time in Adelaide and Denmark is against Haiti at 7 p.m. local time in Perth. Both of those kick off times convert to 7 a.m. ET.
HOW TO WATCH THE FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
Fox holds the English-language media rights in the United States for the Women’s World Cup. Telemundo holds the Spanish-language rights.
Fox will broadcast a record 29 matches over the air on its main network and the rest of the games will be aired on FS1. All matches will be streamed on the Fox app.
FIFA struck a collective deal with the European Broadcasting Union in mid-June, ending a standoff with a broadcasters in five major European television markets. The deal guarantees the games will air in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain.
Defender Nouhaila Benzina became the first player to wear a Hijab in a World Cup game at the senior level when she started in Morocco’s 1-0 win over South Korea.
Carla Qualtrough, recently named Sports Minister in Canada, voiced her support for the national team’s fight for equal pay and support during a visit to a training camp in Melbourne before its make-or-break match Monday against Australia.
When Nigeria scored its third goal in the Women’s World Cup match that now has co-host Australia on the brink of elimination, the hundreds of Matildas fans watching on a giant screen in Melbourne’s Federation Square sent up a chorus of groans.
The United States is a +270 favorite to win the World Cup, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. After the opening 12 days of the tournament, Spain is next at +300, followed by England at +550, Germany at +650, and France is +1400.
The Associated Press