Football Tribe Indonesia
Last two groups finished their matches as the Netherlands faced Canada while the United States took on Sweden. Unfortunately, there’s no happy ending for the only Oceania and South East Asia representatives, New Zealand and Thailand, after their losses sent them back home without any points.
In Rennes, Chabakaew met Chile for the first time. Thailand were pressed by La Roja from the first whistle, and the South American side registered their first attempt after 10th minutes from corner kick scheme on the right side. The ball was delivered into the penalty box was met by Maria Jose Urrutia but saved by Nattakarn Chinwong’s header, which hit the bar. Before half time, Waraporn Boonsing was shocked once again after Rosario Balmaceda blasted a long shot from outside of the box that rattled the woodwork once again. Luckily for Thailand, Chile couldn’t find the net until the half-time whistle was blown.
But after keeping a clean sheet in the first half, Chabakaew were shocked by Yanara Aedo shot from inside of the box. The Valencia midfielder shot initially only hit the far post of Thailand’s net, but then the ball found its way in after hitting Waraporn’s foot, with the official scoreboard listing it as an own goal. More drama occurred ten minutes later after Urrutia finally found the net with her header after converting a cross down the middle from Yessenia Lopez. Chile only needed one more goal to overtake Nigeria as one of the best of third rank position.
Three minutes later, Waraporn fouled Urrutia inside the penalty box and referee Anna-Marie Keighley called it as a penalty after review it by VAR decision. But Fransisca Lara’s kick only hit the bar and made La Roja’s dream fade away. Both teams were sent home, with Thailand left disappointed that their performance as worse than their World Cup debut back in 2015, when Thailand managed a victory over the Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, in Le Havre, the United States successfully took top spot in Group F after beating Sweden 2-0. Portland Thorns midfielder Lindsay Horan gave the USWNT the lead in the 3rd minute from Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick. Later, her clubmate Tobin Heath doubled it up in the 50th minute with a powerful shot inside of the box from the right side, but the goal itself awarded to Joanna Andersson after she deflected the ball into Hedvig Lindahl’s net.
African Nations Set New History
Two hours before the Group F clash, Cameroon were seeking a chance to joined another African representative, Nigeria, in going through the knock-out phase. After a goalless on the first half, Njoya Ajara gave her side the lead against New Zealand in the 57th minutes after getting a cross from Yvonne Leuko on the left side.
In the 64th minute, Erin Nayler made a triple save to deny Cameroon, inspiring her side to push forward as they finally score an equalizer at the last 10 minutes. Aurelle Awona attempted to clear Katie Bowen’s cross from the right side but deflected the ball into her own net. Surprisingly, Njoya Ajara managed to score another goal to save her nation and send them into the knock-out phase for the second time, repeating the feat they achieved back in Canada four years ago. Their result marked the first time that there has been two African representatives in the knock-out stage.
Another identical score also played out in Reims when the latest European Cup winners, Netherlands, met the 2015 World Cup host nation, Canada. Oranje Leeuwinnen took the lead after 54 minutes when Anouk Dekker’s header from a free kick found the net.
But six minutes later, Canada’s Christine Sinclair scored her 182nd international goal and drew the game level. The Netherlands grabbed three points and cemented their place as the group winner after substitute Lineth Beerensteyn scored 15 minutes from time.
At the end of the group stage, three of the five Asian representatives have made the knockout stage. Thailand and South Korea, unfortunately, bid goodbye to the tournament. Australia face Norway, China take on Italy while Japan square off against the Netherlands in the round of 16.