Women’s World Cup: Canada, Nigeria and Spain begin their rounds

Canada and the United States both have something to prove at the Women’s World Cup.credit…Phelan M. Ebenhaek/The Associated Press

After Australia and New Zealand, the co-hosts of the Women’s World Cup, kicked off the tournament, the focus now shifts to the next matches of group play, and to the three top contenders battling it out on the court: Canada, Spain and the United States.

Spain and the United States are no strangers to the final rounds of the Women’s World Cup, and they will have to put up with the pressure of getting a goal on their backs. Canada faces a different kind of pressure: its so far unfulfilled expectations at the World Cup stage.

After these games, there will be a clearer indication of which of these competitors are willing to make a tournament, and which of them have problems that need to be addressed.

Both teams battle with their unions over investment and equal pay. he was there Some grumble that Nigeria may boycott their opening match against Canada, whose players are said to be Approaching a new contract with Canada Soccer. But both sides arrived in the tournament saying they were putting their wage differences aside and turning their focus to the pitch.

Olympic champions Canada qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2015 but lost in the round of 16 in 2019. Nigeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations 11 times but are heavily challenged in a group that includes host nation Australia.

The Philippines, in its first Women’s World Cup, features a roster of 18 American-born players. She will face Switzerland, a team that has appeared only once in the Women’s World Cup finals, in 2015. The two countries have never played each other; Neither of them is expected to advance in this tournament.

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And Spain, whose roster includes many players from European powerhouse Barcelona, ​​has lost only once in the past year. Spain is another program in battle with its federation: a truce was called before the team kicked off the tournament, but tensions remain.

When Spain and Costa Rica played in the opening match of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Costa Rica managed to hold the Spaniards 1-1, a performance they are looking to repeat.

Vietnam, playing in their first Women’s World Cup match, have odds of winning the tournament at just 50,000 to one, but the team gave the highly rated German team a scare on June 24 by holding out for a friendly – with the final score at 2-1.

The United States came under fire after its opening performance in 2019, when the team beat Thailand 13-0. In the run-up to the Women’s World Cup, none of this year’s players will commit to a similar goal frenzy, and as a team looking to make history with a third straight title, the United States will win any way.

One of the hardest parts of watching the Women’s World Cup this year may be keeping track of all the time zones in Australia and New Zealand where the matches are taking place.

This will require a lot of math and, in some cases, midnight alarms. So let’s help!

Our friends at The Upshot have created a handy tool that allows you to easily see the World Cup schedule, accurately and in the time zone of your device location.

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credit…Madison Ketcham

The third time around, Megan Rapinoe reacted to a potentially career-ending knee injury no further than an eye roll. She had torn her anterior cruciate ligament. She can get the recovery schedule off the top of her head. She could see very clearly over the next nine to twelve months rolling in front of her.

The surgery, the painstaking rehab, the grueling weeks in the gym, the anxious first steps out on the lawn, the slow journey back to the way it used to be. When I looked back on it in 2015, I felt something closer to exasperation than despair. “I was like, ‘I don’t have time for this,'” she said.

The first time was different. She had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee at the age of 21, when she was a major star in her sophomore year at the University of Portland. At the time, I felt what she called “fear”—the worry that it might all end before it even began.

Over the past year or so, that fear — and the research questions it raises — has rippled through women’s football. The sport has at times seemed to be in the grip of an epidemic of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, one so widespread that at one point it banished a quarter of the candidates for the Ballon d’Or last year.

Viviane Miedema of the Netherlands, whose knee injury will keep her out of the World Cup, points out that, this season alone, nearly 60 players in Europe’s five big leagues have torn up their AFC Champions League “It’s ridiculous,” she said earlier this year. “Something needs to be done.”

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