Group F / Women's World Cup

Group F: France thrives, Mexico falters in opening games

Surrounded by dreary rainfall and blistering winds that typically accompany a normal day in the United Kingdom, the Three Lionesses could not have asked for more favorable conditions Tuesday at Moncton Stadium against their French adversaries.

Yet, as is true with any sport, quality typically overcomes all else something France displayed in its 1-0 win against England to stake an early claim on Group F while also extending its 40-year streak of dominance against the Three Lionesses.

The goal came courtesy of forward Eugenie Le Sommer, with the 2015 Algrave Cup’s best player capitalizing on a miscue within the England midfield with a booming strike from outside the 18-yard-box midway through first half.

While France was far from its best against an England side content on looking to counter, the difference in quality was apparent with Les Bleues holding a 16-3 advantage in shots and 58 percent possession.

The difference in shots certainly wasn’t helped by England’s tactical approach to the game.

In his first World Cup game, 32-year-old manager Mark Sampson elected to have the Three Lionesses sit back, defend and send long balls over the top to Chelsea forward Eniola Aluko who was on an island by herself for most of the game.

Though understandable to not allow France room to operate in the attack, the tactical decision allowed Les Bleues to continually pressure England’s backline until Le Sommer eventually found the breakthrough in the 29th, albeit in spectacular fashion.

It was a point Sampson was sure to make in regards to his tactics in his postgame remarks.

“I thought we managed the first half superbly,” Sampson said. “You’re always going to be vulnerable to a sharp counter-attack. Sometimes you get caught with a fantastic finish.”

But even after conceding, the Three Lionesses remained reluctant to send numbers forward with the thought of a potential Germany matchup in the quarterfinals perhaps outweighing any positives a win would bring.

With the loss, England now sits at the bottom of group F and will face a more experienced Mexico side from the one it tied during World Cup play in 2011.

France next faces Columbia with Les Bleues now seemingly a lock to win the group as it continues they continue their quest for a first-ever World Cup title.

 

France (1-0-0; 3 points) vs. England (0-0-1; 0 points)
June 9, 2015 — Moncton Stadium, New Brunswick, Canada

Scoring by Period  1   2   F
France                           1   0   1
England                        0  0  0

Scoring Summary
FRA: Eugenie Le Sommer – 29’

Misconduct Summary
Katie Chapman (caution) 66’

Lineups:

FRA: Sarah Bouhaddi, Wendie Renard (C), Laure Boulleau, Laura Georges, Jessica Houara, Amadine Henry, Camille Abily, Elodie Thomis (Kenza Dali,71’), Louisa Necib (Claire Lavogez, 87’), Eugenie Le Sommer (Elise Bussaglia, 81’), Gaetane Thiney

ENGKaren Bardsley, Alex Scott (Francesca Kirby, 68’), Claire Rafferty (C), Stephanie Houghton (C), Laura Bassett, Fara Williams, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Katie Chapman (Jade Moore, 76’), Eniola Aluko, Ellen White (Toni Duggan, 60’)

 

Colombia 1, Mexico 1 

With 10 minutes remaining, it seemed like El Tri Femenil would finally earn its first ever World Cup win.

But right as the thought began to creep into the back of the players’ minds, it was Columbia who brought Mexico crashing back to reality courtesy of an absolute wonder strike from midfielder Daniela Montoya—the country’s first ever World Cup goal.

Eight minutes and a controversial call later and El Tri Femenil were left wondering what if as they settled for a 1-1 draw at Moncton Stadium.

It was an unlucky ending for a team that seemed to have luck on its side following Veronica Perez’s goal in the 36th minute.

The Washington Spirit midfielder’s corner kick took an unlikely curve to catch Columbia’s goalkeeper Stefany Castano off guard just enough to sneak past her outstretched arms and into the goal.

But instead of Mexico putting its foot on the gas, it was Columbia that began to create the better chances.

The first came from 21-year-old phenom Yoreli Rincon whose free kick in the 58th minute struck the far post thanks to Cecilia Santiago’s finger tip save after the 20-year-old had misjudged the initial shot. The second chance came in 82nd. Following a nice trap from substitute Tatiana Ariza at the top of the 18-yard-box, the midfielder played a soft back pass to Montoya. With a defender closing in and already set to shoot, Montoya catapulted a right-footed shot into the top left corner of the goal giving Santiago no chance at a save.

Knowing a draw would serve no purpose if either team wanted to advance to the knockout stage, Mexico urgently pushed for a late winner and after forward Charlyn Corral was played through on goal late into stoppage time it appeared El Tri Femenil had gotten it.

But a questionable foul called by the referee on midfielder Stephany Mayor for contact on her header that played Corral through on goal foiled any late-game heroics to give a disappointing result for Mexico a controversial ending.

If either Mexico or Columbia is to advance to the knockout stage now, three points against either France or England could be a must.

El Tri Femenil will face England June 13 at Moncton Stadium while Colombia faces World Cup favorites France.

Colombia (0-0-0; 0 points) vs. Mexico (0-0-0; 0 points)
June 9, 2015 — Moncton Stadium, New Brunswick, Canada

Scoring by Period  1   2   F
Colombia                       0  1   1
Mexico                           1   0   1

Scoring Summary
MEX: Veronica Perez – 36’
COL: Daniela Montoya – 82’

Misconduct Summary
MEX: Cecilia Santiago (yellow card) 18’
COL: Natalie Gaitan (yellow card) 26’
COL: Orianica Velasquez (yellow card) 34’
COL: Daniela Montoya (yellow card) 55’

Lineups:

COL: Stefany Castano, Orianica Velasquez, Angela Clavijo, Nataly Arias, Carolina Arias, Natalia Gaitan (C), Diana Ospina (Yisela Cuesta, 88’), Daniela Montoya, Yoreli Rincon, Lady Andrade (Tatiana Ariza, 77’), Catalina Usme (Ingrid Vidal, 78’)

MEXCecilia Santiago, Kenti Robles, Christina Murillo, Alina Garciamendez, Valeria Miranda, Nayeli Rangel (C), Stephany Mayor, Monica Ocampo(Fabiola Ibarra, 87’), Veronica Perez, Charlyn Corral, Renae Cuellar(Jennifer Ruiz, 79’)

 

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