Week 1 World Cup Thrills: Late Drama & Debut Excellence
Late Drama, VAR Controversy, and Debut Brilliance: Women's World Cup Week 1 Highlights
- Denmark's late show stuns China (90th-minute header seals win).
- Protester halted in Perth (animal rights demonstration).
- England struggles to score from open play (367 minutes without a goal).
- Haiti impresses with teenage star (Melchie Dumornay shines in debut match).
On Day Three of the Women's World Cup, football fans were treated to thrilling moments as Denmark clinched a late victory, a protester briefly interrupted play, England grappled with scoring issues, and Haiti showcased their potential in an impressive debut match.
As the Women's World Cup continues to captivate audiences worldwide, day three brought thrilling matches, surprising performances, and VAR controversies. From Denmark's late triumph over China to England's goal-scoring woes, and the emergence of a teenage star for Haiti, here's a comprehensive recap of the exciting action on the field.
Denmark's Late Show:
After a 16-year absence from the Women's World Cup, Denmark made a stunning return to the prestigious tournament. Paired against China in their comeback game, the Danish team faced a formidable challenge, with the majority of the 16,989-strong crowd in Perth rallying behind their opponents.
With sheer determination, Denmark held on until the last possible minute, delivering a hard-fought victory that left their supporters in a state of euphoria. Amalie Jørgensen Vangsgaard's 90th-minute header sealed the dramatic win, becoming the defining moment of her career with the national team. The joyous celebration demonstrated the magnitude of the accomplishment, having secured three valuable points on the grand stage.
"It is pretty amazing right now," said Vansgaard, savoring her first-ever national team goal. "I could've dreamed about [coming off the bench and scoring a goal late in the match], but I wasn't expecting it."
Amidst the electric atmosphere in Perth, where fans were treated to a thrilling match, a minor hiccup arose in the form of a pitch invader. A protester attempted to disrupt play by running onto the field during the first half. However, security acted swiftly, apprehending the individual before any significant disruptions could occur.
The protester carried a sign that read "Yulin Dog Festival," referencing an annual event in Yulin, Guangxi, China, infamous for its controversial practices involving the consumption of dogs and lychees. This animal rights demonstration aimed to bring attention to the alleged inhumane treatment of animals during the festival.
England's Goal-Scoring Woes:
Despite England's standing as the fourth-ranked team in the world and their impressive trophy collection, they encountered a pressing concern during the tournament – scoring goals from open play. Since the 23rd minute of the Finalissima against Brazil, England has struggled to find the back of the net in open-play situations.
Beth Mead's injury and Ellen White's retirement have impacted the team's attacking dynamics, necessitating changes in personnel. Manager Sarina Wiegman deployed Alessia Russo as the lone striker, who showed promise with six shots, five of which were on target. Despite their offensive efforts, England lacked the ruthlessness needed to convert opportunities into goals.
"We need more ruthlessness," said Wiegman.
"We went very close a couple of times, and their defense was tough too, but we need to keep trying, keep working on it, starting tomorrow."
VARcical Decisions? Or Correct Ones?
The introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) created a significant impact on Saturday's matches, disrupting the flow and causing moments of tension and uncertainty for both players and spectators. However, for the first time in Women's World Cup history, fans in the stadium witnessed the explanations behind VAR decisions, adding an element of drama to the proceedings.
Japan and Zambia experienced VAR's impact firsthand, as two goals were overturned in Japan's favor, and a penalty was taken away after being awarded due to an offside call. In Brisbane, England faced VAR-related drama with a denied penalty, a second awarded for handball, and a retake due to the Haitian goalkeeper stepping off her line early.
While the stop-start nature of VAR decisions frustrated players and fans alike, the system's correct calls ensured fair outcomes.
Haiti Impresses with Teenage Star:
In their Women's World Cup debut, Haiti faced the challenge of being ranked 53rd, facing a traditional powerhouse in England (ranked fourth). Despite being considered underdogs, Haiti showcased immense talent and spirit, impressing both fans and opponents.
At the heart of Haiti's commendable performance was 19-year-old Lyon star Melchie Dumornay. Despite suffering an early knock, Dumornay displayed remarkable resilience and skill, orchestrating Haiti's attacking moves and connecting with Roselord Borgella and Nerilia Mondesir. Their counter-attacking prowess threatened England's defense throughout the match.
"We were always going to create chances on the counterattack," said England's Lucy Bronze in praise of Haiti's powerful and fast attacking style.
Dumornay expressed pride in her team's achievement, even in defeat, and the impact they have on their nation. "I am grateful for my teammates; they helped me a lot to do my best for the team, so I am trying to do my best each game."
With Denmark and China still to face, Haiti's journey in the Women's World Cup promises further surprises and compelling performances
Denmark's Amalie Jørgensen Vangsgaard secured a thrilling 90th-minute win. VAR controversies created stop-start moments, but fair decisions were made. England's goal drought reached 367 minutes, while Haiti's 19-year-old star, Melchie Dumornay, displayed promise. Their debut performance impressed, hinting at an exciting future for women's football.