Argentina foil Japan; Roord late goal sees Netherlands pip Kiwis - GulfToday

Argentina foil Japan; Roord late goal sees Netherlands pip Kiwis

Women-World-Cup

The Netherlands’ Jill Roord scores against New Zealand during their Women’s World Cup Group D match on Tuesday. Reuters

On a day of defence against attack, Canada found the goal they needed to beat Cameroon but Argentina frustrated Japan and collected a first-ever Women’s World Cup point.

In Paris, Argentina restricted Japan, finalists in the last two World Cups, to three dangerous chances without creating a clear scoring opportunity of their own as the game ended in the first goalless draw of the competition and only the seventh in the competition’s history.

The result leaves both teams on one point in Group D, behind England who beat Scotland on Sunday. When the whistle blew at Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc des Princes stadium Argentina’s substitutes jumped off the bench to join the players on the pitch at finally getting a World Cup point at the seventh attempt.

“This point is really important for us. I think we’re able to reflect upon what Argentina is and what it means as a team,” said Estefania Banini, Argentina’s captain who was voted player of the match.

Banini, short, left-footed and wearing number 10, has inevitably been dubbed the female Lionel Messi, but in build and manner she more closely resembles another left-footed Argentine 10, Diego Maradona.

She was tenacious both with and without the ball and both first-half yellow cards were for rough Japanese challenges on the Argentine captain.

Japan played with more urgency in the second half, pushing Argentina back. After 50 minutes, Kumi Yokoyama’s drive from 35 metres drew a sprawling save from Vanina Correa. The ball ran to Yuki Sugasawa who blasted over from close range.

Since the group stage only eliminates eight of the 24 teams, the draw leaves Japan and Argentina needing one victory in their next two games. Both will need to find a way to score.

In the late match in Montpellier, Cameroon, playing their second World Cup, also set out to defend in the Group E opener.

Canada struggled with their shooting and only broke through from a set piece just before half time. Defender Kadeisha Buchanan arrived late to meet a corner at the far post and bounced a header past Annette Ngo Ndom in the Cameroon goal. It was Buchanan’s fourth international goal. Three have been from headers.

Canada’s veteran striker Christine Sinclair, who needs four more goals to overtake retired American Abby Wambach as the top scorer in women’s international football, had a particularly difficult night in front of goal.

The other two teams in the group, Netherlands and New Zealand, meet in Le Havre on Tuesday.

Jill Roord came off the bench and headed home from close range in added time on Tuesday to give the Netherlands a 1-0 women’s World Cup victory over New Zealand in Le Havre.

The victory lifts the European champions into a tie with Canada atop Group E.

The Football Ferns, stout in defence and sharp on the counter attack, were left with nothing but disappointment.

The stars of a lively match were the two goalkeepers, Sari van Veenendaal for the Netherlands and New Zealand’s Erin Nayler. Both were busy and both, at different stages, underwent on-field treatment after brave saves.

The Dutch dominated possession and goal attempts but New Zealand created three dangerous chances. In the first half, Olivia Chance hit the bar and Rosie White drew a sprawling save from Van Veenendaal with a long-range strike.

Early in the second half Sarah Gregorius, who is of Dutch descent, shinned a volley into the ground that gave Van Veenendaal time to lunge to her right and claw the ball round the post.

At the other end, centre-backs Rebekah Stott and Abby Erceg coped well with the physical presence of Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema and the lively skills of the attackers around her.

When the Dutch did carve a clear chance, they were frustrated either by Nayler or some anxious finishing, until the final moments.

The Dutch swung one more hanging cross to the far post where Lineth Beerensteyn bulleyed Ali Riley into a tame header back across the goal and Arsenal’s Roord guided the ball past the advancing Nayler.

Agence France-Presse