Third-ranked French eves started their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over England on Tuesday at Moncton Stadium. England has not beaten France since 1974 going into the contest, and their poor run continued in the World Cup group opener.
Eugenie Le Sommer’s lone strike separated the teams. Sommer, a midfielder, notched up her 45th international goal through a 20-yard pile-driver from the edge of the penalty area that defeated British custodian Karen Bardsley in the near-post.
England coach Mark Sampson’s strategy was to thwart France, one of the favorites to clinch the trophy and three places higher in ranking than the Lionesses. With five players stuffed in the midfield, Sampson tried to nullify French attacking flair. But the tactics worked only for the first 20 minutes as France built up a number of moves prior to taking the lead. On a rain-drenched pitch of the Moncton Stadium England eves could only manage one attempt in goal which came in the second half.
Both sides shall play Mexico and Colombia in their other two respective outings of the group. The game didn’t reach the same heights as the entertaining encounters between the US and Australia and Sweden and Nigeria did on Monday.
In the other game of the day at Montreal, Brazil beat South Korea 2-0 to move to the top of the group. The five-time World player of the year Marta scored her 15th goal of the tournament from the spot to become the highest scorer in the World Cup. Till Tuesday, the record was held by former German star Brigit Prinz.
Formiga put Brazil eves ahead earlier. The 37-year-old became the oldest player to net a goal in the history of the tournament. In the first game of the group Costa Rica and Spain drew 1-1. Brazil will play Spain in the next game on Saturday.
The U.S. Media on the other hand reacted with disdain to an article published in the website of the Football Federation of Australia demeaning the U.S. 3-1 victory over Australia in the tournament opener on Monday at the Winnipeg Stadium. After the match, the FFA published an article “The USA, well, they aren’t just that good.” The article criticized the US tactics of 4-4-2 to outmaneuver the opponents in the midfield. Australia dominated the game in certain spells but finally bowed down 3-1, as the U.S. eves outplayed them in the final minutes.