Dominant Spain starts its World Cup campaign with a victory over Costa Rica as Switzerland shut the Philippines down with a convincing win.
With three goals in four minutes in the middle of a lopsided first half, Spain shattered Costa Rica’s resistance with a resounding 3-0 win on Friday.
Speculation that Spain was a team weakened by injuries was misleading, as La Roja controlled more than 80% of possession by halftime with 15 shots on the opposition goal.
The dominant first half was enough for the win, as a relatively quiet second half didn’t hurt one of the tournament's favourites.
Though they attacked relentlessly, Spain needed 22 minutes until it opened the scoring courtesy of an own goal. Aitana Bonmati cut the ball back across goal from the left and Valeria del Campo, attempting to clear, sliced the ball into her own net.
Bonmati scored herself a minute later, striking the ball hard and low from the edge of the box. Two minutes later, Esther Gonzalez was on hand to add the third. It mattered little when Jennifer Hermoso missed from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute, her shot saved by Daniela Solera.
Switzerland open with a convincing win over Philippines
Ramona Bachmann's first-half penalty and Seraina Piubel's strike in the second half led Switzerland to a 2-0 win over the Philippines on Friday in the Women’s World Cup opener for both teams.
Bachmann drilled the ball into the left side of the net on a penalty kick moments before halftime as Piubel added a second-half goal, scoring on the rebound from a missed shot by Coumba Sow that ricocheted off Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.
The Group A encounter was the first game inside Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium in New Zealand, the tournament’s only indoor venue. The crowd’s cheers echoed around the walls of the roughly half-full stadium, with an attendance of 13,711 in a venue that can fit over 30,000.
With the victory, Switzerland moves into a tie for first place in Group A with New Zealand and improved its chances of moving on to the round of 16.
The Philippines played gamely in their Women's World Cup debut but face a hard climb to get into the knock-out stage of the tournament.
Switzerland will face Norway, which lost in an upset to New Zealand, in its second group-stage match, in Hamilton. The Philippines will face an energized New Zealand in Wellington. Both matches are on Tuesday.
Nigeria hold Canada to a goalless draw
With a diving one-handed save to her left, 22-year-old goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie denied international soccer’s leading scorer Christine Sinclair and played a pivotal role in Nigeria holding Olympic champions Canada to a 0-0 draw.
Nnadozie parried away Sinclair’s shot from the spot in the 50th minute on Friday after the Canadian veteran was clipped by Nigerian forward Francisca Ordega inside the box.
Sinclair’s 190 international goals is an all-time record — for both women’s and men’s football— and she’s aiming to become the first player to score in six World Cups. It didn’t happen in Canada’s tournament opener.
“She’s one of the best,” Nnadozie said of Sinclair after the match. “The last time we played against them, she scored on me. I was very angry. I told myself, ‘This is the opportunity to make things right.’ So it’s 1-1 for me and Sinclair.”
Canada goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan said Sinclair would convert the penalty “nine times out of 10” but added, “that’s just the game.”