Monday, July 15, 2024

Australia Face Must-Win FIFA Women’s World Cup Clash, Japan Take On Spain

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Co-hosts Australia have to beat Canada on Monday or risk an unthinkable exit from the Women’s World Cup in the first round, while former champions Japan take on Spain with top spot in their group on the line. Australia are sweating on the fitness of star forward and captain Sam Kerr for the Group B game against Canada in Melbourne which starts at 1000 GMT and where only a win will guarantee them a place in the last 16. Kerr has missed the Matildas’ two matches so far, in which they beat the Republic of Ireland 1-0 but then suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat against Nigeria.

She has declared herself available after a calf injury but it is uncertain how much of a part she will play against the Olympic champions.

“Everyone involved in sport knows that with calf injuries it’s one thing that you’re available, but there’s also risk when you come back from a muscle injury,” said Australia coach Tony Gustavsson ahead of the game.

Australia are a point behind both Canada and Nigeria, and a draw could only be enough for the co-hosts to go through should the Nigerians lose to Ireland in Brisbane at the same time.

Otherwise they will have to win to avoid suffering the same fate as New Zealand and being eliminated from their home World Cup in the first round.

A draw will do for Canada, whose coach Bev Priestman was not focusing on Kerr’s fitness.

“We’ve spoken about what it takes to beat Australia because Australia is not just Sam Kerr,” she said.

After stunning Australia in their last game, Nigeria’s Super Falcons need just a point against the already-eliminated Irish to go through to the knockout phase.

Before those games, the finale to Group C sees already-qualified Japan and Spain battle it out for top spot in Wellington (0700 GMT).

Spain, featuring Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, lead the group on goal difference from the 2011 World Cup winners, meaning Japan need to win to finish top.

Whoever tops Group C will stay in Wellington for a last-16 tie on Saturday against Norway, while the runners-up will head north to Auckland to face Switzerland the same day.

Colombia stun Germany

The Swiss secured first place in Group A on Sunday with a 0-0 draw against New Zealand as the co-hosts were eliminated on goal difference by Norway, who hammered the Philippines 6-0.

Many of the New Zealand players were distraught at the end.

“There are a lot of tears out there, but they should be so proud to finish on four points,” captain Ali Riley said.

A 97th-minute header from Manuela Vanegas gave Colombia a stunning 2-1 win over Germany in Sydney in Group H.

Germany smashed Morocco 6-0 in their opener to underline why they were among the pre-tournament favourites, along with Spain and England, to snatch the crown from holders the United States.

But they came crashing back down to earth at the hands of a Colombia side inspired by 18-year-old Linda Caicedo and roared on by the majority of a rowdy 40,000 crowd.

Caicedo scored a brilliant opener to put Colombia ahead, but Germany thought they had salvaged a point in the 89th minute when skipper Alexandra Popp levelled from the penalty spot.

However, Vanegas popped up to head home from close range and put Colombia on the verge of the last 16.

“Germany is a world power, that’s a reality, but Colombia has been making great strides and today Colombia is a world power,” said the defender Vanegas.

“I dreamed of scoring a goal in a World Cup, I knew it was going to come and I decided to do it for today’s game.”

Morocco won a Women’s World Cup match for the first time after Ibtissam Jraidi struck early to give them a 1-0 victory over South Korea.

Going into the last round of group matches, Colombia are top of Group H on six points, Germany and Morocco have three and South Korea have zero.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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