Women's Football World Cup News Archive 2007
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After a rollercoaster World Cup campaign, England's performances have seen them move into the top ten of the FIFA world rankings for the first ever time.
Not content with winning the FIFA Women's World Cup 2007, Germany have also gone back to the top of the FIFA Women's World Ranking, dethroning Olympic champions the USA in the process.
The Germans' formidable run of five victories and one draw without conceding a goal, including four wins against teams that were in the top ten before the start of the tournament, earned Germany a haul of more than 50 points.
This is only the third change in leadership of the women's world ranking, which has been dominated by Germany and the USA since its introduction four years ago. The Americans had only taken over as leaders in April following a disappointing showing by the Germans in the Algarve Cup.
The biggest movers in the latest world ranking are Brazil, going up five place to third place, whose five victories in the World Cup put them among the crème de la crème.
The points total of England also increases, but only slightly, as despite some excellent performances they only managed one victory. In any case, they are now in the top ten for the first time as they have ascended two places into tenth.
The FIFA Women's World Ranking was first published in July 2003 to rate some 150 FIFA member associations on the basis of several factors including victories, home advantage, the strength of the opposition and the importance of matches. The ranking is published four times each year.
The next FIFA Women's World Ranking will be published on 21 December 2007.
England star Kelly Smith has been named in the FIFA All Star Team for the 2007 World Cup Finals.
Sixteen players were elected by FIFA's Technical Study Group, based on players' performances throughout the tournament and Kelly's displays for England see her firmly placed among the world's elite.
The players named were:
Nadine Angerer (Germany)
Bente Nordby (Norway)
Li Jie (China)
Kerstin Stegemann (Germany)
Ariane Hingst (Germany)
Ane Stangeland-Horpestad (Norway)
Kelly Smith (England)
Renate Lingor (Germany)
Ingvild Stensland (Norway)
Kristine Lilly (USA)
Lisa De Vanna (Australia)
Birgit Prinz (Germany)
Photo - www.jamesprickett.co.uk
Marta picked up the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards as a consolation for defeat in the World Cup Final.
The Brazilian star was voted as the best player of the tournament, picking up a huge 51% of the vote and finishing a long way ahead of nearest rivals Birgit Prinz and Cristiane.
Marta also finished as leading scorer with seven goals, one ahead of Abby Wambach and Ragnhild Gulbrandsen.
Germany's Nadine Angerer unsurprisingly carried off the Best Goalkeeper Award, having not conceded a goal all tournament and saving a penalty in the Final.
Germany's experience of the big occasions proved to be vital as they defeated Brazil 2-0 in Shanghai to become the first country ever to retain the World Cup.
A largely disappointing first half gave way to an action packed second and a penalty save helped the Germans on their way to becoming the first team ever, male or female, to go through a World Cup Finals without conceding a goal.
Germany had a great chance to open the scoring in the fifth minute as Kerstin Garefrekes burst into the area but fired her shot into the side netting. Brazil came back with a Daniela free kick which was not held by Nadine Angerer and Formiga poked the ball wide from six yards.
Another chance went begging as Sandra Smisek shot wastefully over with a clear sight on goal but at the other end, Daniela went close with a 25-yard volley which crashed back off the inside of the post and away to safety.
After the flurry of chances, the pace slowed and the game drifted into half time with a goalless score, set to explode into life after the restart.
Six minutes into the second half, Germany broke the deadlock as Renate Lingor's pass was laid off by Smisek and into the path of Birgit Prinz. The German captain's shot was not sweetly struck but bounced under the diviing Andreia and into the net for the opening goal.
Annike Krahn should have made it two but headed wide from five yards out following a Lingor corner. That miss looked to have been costly just five minutes later as Cristiane was tripped by Linda Bresonik in the area and Brazil were awarded a penalty.
Marta stepped up to take the kick but - after being forced to wait as Brazil bizarrely made a substitution - her tame effort was saved by Angerer low to her right and the Germans converged to prevent Marta scoring from the rebound.
Angerer then produced an even better save to tip a 30-yard Daniela free kick onto the post. Brazil threw on extra strikers in an attempt to level the game but Germany stood firm under the increasing pressure with Krahn outstanding in the centre, well supported by the ever consistent Ariane Hingst.
Lingor had also given a great performance in midfield and another of her set pieces led to Germany wrapping up the game. This time her inswinging corner from the left picked out Simone Laudehr whose powerful downward header gave Andreia no chance and Germany were World Champions once again.
Germany: Nadine Angerer, Kerstin Stegemann, Linda Bresonik, Simone Laudehr, Annike Krahn, Ariane Hingst, Melanie Behringer (sub Martina Mueller 74mins), Sandra Smisek (sub Fatmire Bajramaj 80mins), Birgit Prinz, Renate Lingor, Kerstin Garefrekes.
Brazil: Andreia, Elaine, Aline (sub Katia 88mins), Tania (sub Pretinha 81mins), Renata Costa, Ester (sub Rosana 63mins), Daniela, Formiga, Maycon, Marta, Cristiane.
Photo - www.jamesprickett.co.uk
Brazil stunned World Cup favourites USA as a virtuoso display from Marta carried them towards a 4-0 victory in their semi final in Hangzhou.
The result takes Brazil into the World Cup Final for the first time ever whilst the Americans suffered their first defeat in 51 matches.
USA coach Greg Ryan took the shock decision to drop goalkeeper Hope Solo, replacing her with the experienced Briana Scurry and the Americans never came to terms with the speed and invention of the Canarinhas, in particular the World Player of the Year.
Brazil started the game brightly and took the lead in the 20th minute and, like Germany the day before, it was through an own goal. Formiga's near post corner was headed into her own net, under no pressure, by Leslie Osbourne as she stooped to clear.
Within seven minutes, Marta cut in from the right and sent in a low shot through the grasp of Scurry at her near post to double Brazil's lead and USA's task became even harder shortly before half time as Shannon Boxx was harshly shown a second yellow card after tangling legs with Cristiane - whose shocking reaction after the showing of the card was wholly inappropriate for the occasion.
In the second half, the USA gambled by playing three defenders but the game was over as a contest before the hour mark, as the speedy Formiga raced down the left before setting up Cristiane to plant her shot in the next from fifteen yards.
Kirstine Lilly should have done better with a golden chance but shot straight at Ariane and, from that moment, it was the Marta show. After teasing the American defence with a series of tricks and flicks, she delivered the coup de grace eleven minutes from time as she flicked the ball past Tina Ellerston, turned and beat another defender before drilling her shot past Scurry for the fourth goal.
Brazil: Andreia, Elaine, Aline, Tania, Renata Costa, Ester, Daniela, Formiga, Maycon, Marta, Cristiane.
USA: Briana Scurry, Stephanie Lopez (sub Carli Lloyd 45mins), Christie Rampone, Cat Whitehill, Leslie Osborne, Kate Markgraf (sub Marian Dalmy 74mins), Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Heather O'Reilly (sub Tina Ellertson 60mins), Abby Wambach, Kristine Lilly.
Photo - Marta gives a masterclass… surrounded by Carli Lloyd, Leslie Osborne and Lori Chalupny.
Despite admitting to being disappointed at exiting the World Cup at the quarter final stage, England Head Coach Hope Powell revealed her pride at what the Three Lions achieved in China and the style with which they played.
It took almost an hour for the world number one side, USA, to break down England's resistance in Tianjin, but once it was broken England could not recover and were eliminated by three quick goals.
But Hope stayed positive when looking back on England's first World Cup in 12 years. "I'm proud of what we achieved," she revealed. "We have to respect that America are very clinical in front of goal but we certainly matched them and we played some attractive football. In the end we didn't show enough composure in front of goal. We did get at them at certain times but those minutes were crucial.
"There were some goalkeeping errors that were costly but we truly believed we could come here and do a job."
With thrilling performances against Japan and Argentina, and a battling display filled with courage and application against the reigning champions Germany, England earned rave reviews and new supporters along the way in their World Cup journey. Now Hope is hoping the experience can boost the development of her players even more.
"We've put on a good display throughout the tournament and we'll learn a lot from it," she said. "We've competed well, we've played attractive football and we matched America at times.
"We certainly deserved to come this far and overall I feel that we've done well at the tournament. We'll build on our performances here, the experience will hold us in good stead and hopefully we'll be back in four years."
Germany are just one step away from retaining the World Cup after they defeated Norway 3-0 in the semi finals in Tianjin.
However the margin of victory was a flattering one on the day as Norway had much the better of the first half before an unfortunate own goal just before half time.
Norway carried the game towards the Germans but could not get too many threatening efforts in on goal as they sought the breakthrough. With three minutes of the first half remaining, Birgit Prinz, who had been kept quiet early on, made a strong run down the left and her cross was headed past her own keeper by Trine Ronning in her attempt to clear to give Germany the lead against the run of play.
Norway's cause was not helped by losing Gunhild Folstad to injury and key player Solveig Gulbrandsen early in the second half and another unlucky break saw Germany extend their lead in the 72nd minute. Renate Lingor played the ball into the path of Prinz who powered into the area before laying the ball back for Kerstin Stegemann whose shot deflected off Ingvild Stensland and looped over a helpless Bente Nordby before going in off the post.
The game was over as a contest three minutes later as a bad backpass from Siri Nordby was seized on by Martina Mueller who finished clinically as Bente Nordby advanced.
Fatmire Bajramaj hit the bar late on but Germany can now look forward to their third World Cup Final in Shanghai on Sunday and are still yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
Germany: Nadine Angerer, Kerstin Stegemann, Linda Bresonik (sub Sandra Minnert 81mins), Ariane Hingst, Annike Krahn, Simone Laudehr, Melanie Behringer (sub Fatmire Bajramaj 40mins), Sandra Smisek (sub Martina Mueller 65mins), Birgit Prinz, Renate Lingor, Kerstin Garefrekes.
Norway: Bente Nordby, Ane Stangeland-Horpestad, Gunhild Folstad (sub Siri Nordby 48mins), Ingvild Stensland, Camilla Huse, Marie Knutsen, Trine Ronning, Solveig Gulbrandsen (sub Lene Storlokken 56mins), Isabell Herlovsen (sub Lise Klaveness 45mins), Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, Leni Larsen Kaurin.
Photo - Simone Laudehr clears from Solveig Gulbrandsen (www.jamesprickett.com)
England 0 USA 3 (Wambach 48, Boxx 57, Lilly 60)
England are out of the World Cup after a second half goal blitz carried the USA into the last four in Tianjin.
Hope Powell's side had held the World Cup favourites to a goalless scoreline at half time but the second half proved to be a bridge too far despite a valiant effort.
With Fara Williams missing through suspension, Katie Chapman returned to the centre of midfield whilst Karen Carney was also back in the starting line up, replacing Rachel Yankey on the left.
If England had been nervous before the match, they did not show it as the passed the ball around confidently during the early stages. However it did take a smart piece of goalkeeping from Rachel Brown to deny Kristine Lilly with a smothering save from a deflected Christie Rampone cross.
Kelly Smith produced a brilliant turn near the corner flag to trick her way past two USA defenders but cover was at hand and she was crowded out before she could produce a telling pass. Meanwhile there was a scare at the other end as Faye White headed clear a Stephanie Lopez cross, the ball cannoned off Lilly and rebounded just past the post.
Carney swung in a cross which saw Alex Scott and Jill Scott challenge Hope Solo in the area but an offside flag ended the England attack. The winger then tested Solo from long range following good play by Smith as England continued to match the USA during the midpoint of the first half.
There was a moment of controversy near the end of the first half as White was caught by the elbow of Abby Wambach and play was held up as the England captain was treated for what appeared to be a broken nose. Typically, she picked herself up and carried on but the USA were coming on strong at this stage. Brown made a good save from Lilly whilst Wambach volleyed over at full stretch from close range but England saw out the first half on level terms.
England made a change at half time with Rachel Yankey replacing Eniola Aluko but they found themselves behind within three minutes of the restart. A USA corner on the left, taken by Lilly, was played to the far post, where Wambach had made an unchallenged run and she rose to power a header into the back of the net.
With their tails up, the Americans chased a second goal and it took a great catch from Brown to avert further danger, holding a Lopez cross under pressure from two players but the pressure told after Jill Scott made a good challenge to win the ball from Lori Chalupny, however the midfielder was tackled by Shannon Boxx who drove a low left foot shot which Brown got a hand to but could only divert into the goal.
Three minutes later and it was 3-0. Brown misjudged the bounce from a long Solo clearance and it gave Lilly the chance to stroke the ball into the empty net and send her side on the way to the last four.
After conceding three goals in twelve minutes, England could well have folded but they picked themselves up and sought a goal which their efforts merited. Casey Stoney drove a long range shot straight at Solo and Yankey had an effort saved after cutting in from the right.
At the other end, Brown made a good stop from a well struck shot by Boxx and Anita Asante was on hand to clear. England forced a couple of late corners but they could not get a breakthrough and the final whistle signalled the end of their challenge.
England: Rachel Brown, Mary Phillip (sub Lianne Sanderson 81mins), Casey Stoney, Katie Chapman, Faye White, Anita Asante, Alex Scott, Jill Scott, Eniola Aluko (sub Rachel Yankey 45mins), Kelly Smith, Karen Carney.
USA: Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Cat Whitehill, Shannon Boxx (sub Carli Lloyd 82mins), Heather O'Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Kristine Lilly, Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Lori Chalupny, Abby Wambach (sub Natasha Kai 86mins).
Photo - Alex Scott is sandwiched between Kate Markgraf and Kristine Lilly (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
Based on the latest weather reports about the evolution of typhoon Wipha and after having thoroughly and carefully assessed the situation with the Local Organizing Committee and the relevant Chinese authorities, FIFA has decided to amend the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007 match schedule as follows:
Match 21, Norway v Ghana will be played on 20 September (17:00) in Hangzhou (and not on 19 Sept in Shanghai as originally scheduled)
Match 24, Brazil v Denmark will be played on 20 September (20:00) in Hangzhou (and not on 19 Sept as originally scheduled)
Matches 22 and 23 (Australia v Canada, 19 Sep,17:00, in Chengdu and China v New Zealand, 19 Sep, 20:00, in Tianjin respectively) remain unchanged.
England 6 (Gonzalez og 8, J.Scott 9, Williams pen 48, K.Smith 63,76, Exley pen 89)
Argentina 1 (Gonzalez 60)
England cruised into the quarter finals with an easy 6-1 victory over Argentina, to emulate their achievement at their last World Cup appearance in 1995.
They now face one of their toughest ever opponents as they will play the Group B winners in Tianjin on Saturday, most likely to be either the United States or North Korea.
With Katie Chapman missing the match through suspension, Hope Powell sprang another surprise by leaving out Karen Carney whilst recalling Eniola Aluko and Rachel Yankey to the starting line up.
England set their stall out to attack from the start and they profited after just eight minutes through more astonishing defensive ineptitude from Argentina. Casey Stoney crossed from the right and, with no England player near her, Eva Gonzalez planted a header into the top corner of the net and the vital breakthrough had come.
Barely a minute later it was two. Jill Scott raced into a 50-50 ball around 30 yards from goal with a speculative long range shot, Romina Ferro dived over the top of the ball and the Everton midfielder was handed her first ever international goal.
A quickly taken free kick saw Yankey's low strike fumbled by Ferro and Aluko hit the bar with a shot on the turn as England began to rain shots on goal. Alex Scott shot straight at Ferro after a strong run into the area and Faye White was inches away from reaching a Kelly Smith cross with the goal gaping.
Argentina tried to respond with some long range efforts of their own, including a 35-yard free kick from Gonzalez which was just over the bar but England still looked dangerous every time they attacked, Smith's shot from outside the area hitting the side netting.
A free kick for a foul on Aluko almost led to England extending their lead, after Fara Williams' shot was charged down, Smith unleashed a stinging half volley which brought out an excellent diving save from Ferro. Aluko was denied by a good saving tackle from Florencia Mandrile following a strong run forward by Smith.
England were back on the attack from the restart and Yankey's angled drive was turned over the bar by Ferro. Smith then drove into the area where she was pulled down by Catalina Perez and a penalty was awarded. Perez was shown a second yellow card, reducing Argentina to ten players, and Williams confidently stepped up to plant her shot past Ferro, putting England 3-0 ahead.
Yankey was again denied by Ferro after selflessly being set up by Smith but England were set back on their heels on the hour mark as Argentina scored their first goal of the tournament. Again it was a free kick that led to the breakthrough, a poor decision by the referee for an innocuous foul by Faye White and Gonzalez drilled her shot into the corner of the net.
There was more bad news for England moments later as a harsh yellow card for Williams ruled her out of the quarter finals but they were quickly back on track when Yankey tricked her way to the line and her low cross was cheekily flicked in by Smith at close range.
A last ditch clearance from Chavez foiled Aluko as she was poised to score from Yankey's low centre and the winger should have added to England's tally, Sue Smith cut the ball back to Aluko whose shot was blocked but, with an open goal in front of her, Yankey hooked her right foot shot past the post.
It wasn't too long before the fifth goal came, Mary Phillip's initial break down the right led to Yankey cutting in and shooting, Ferro parried her effort but Kelly Smith on hand to drill the rebound into the far corner of the net.
A bad ball from Rachel Brown almost led to a scare for England but she comfortably saved the resulting shot by Maria Potassa. England went back on the attack and, after Sue Smith's cross was punched away by Ferro under pressure from Vicky Exley and Williams fired the loose ball inches over from the edge of the area.
Exley was unlucky not to score from a Stoney corner but her downward header was blocked by the legs of Ferro. England regained possession and played the ball back into the area where Exley was caught by a high boot from Almeida and a second penalty was awarded. Exley coolly slotted the kick into the corner of the net to cap off a successful day for England.
England: Rachel Brown, Mary Phillip, Casey Stoney, Jill Scott, Faye White, Anita Asante, Alex Scott (sub Sue Smith 67mins), Fara Williams, Eniola Aluko (sub Jody Handley 79mins), Kelly Smith (sub Vicky Exley 79mins), Rachel Yankey.
Argentina: Romina Ferro, Eva Gonzalez, Gabriela Chavez, Clarisa Huber (sub Valeria Cotelo 51mins), Maria Quinones (sub Emilia Mendieta 75mins), Catalina Perez, Florencia Mandrile, Fabiana Vallejos, Maria Potassa, Analia Almeida (sub Natalia Gatti 62mins), Mercedes Pereyra.
Photo: Kelly Smith skips past a tackle from Maria Quinones (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
Germany 2 Japan 0
Birgit Prinz became the World Cup's all time leading goalscorer as Germany captured top spot in Group A with a 2-0 victory over Japan.
Germany dominated the match almost from start to finish and the moment of history came in the 21st minute after a Renate Lingor corner was not cleared and Prinz fired into the roof of the net from ten yards.
Sandra Smisek almost added a second as she hit the post with a header just before half time but Germany continued to dictate after the break, the only surprise being that they only scored one further goal, Lingor slotting home from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining after Martina Muller had been fouled in the area.
Germany: Nadine Angerer, Kerstin Stegemann, Annike Krahn, Linda Bresonik, Melanie Behringer (sub Fatmire Bajramaj 57mins), Sandra Smisek (sub Martina Muller 78mins), Birgit Prinz, Renate Lingor, Ariane Hingst, Kerstin Garefrekes, Petra Wimbersky.
Japan: Miho Fukumoto, Hiromi Isozaki, Yukari Kinga, Miyuki Yanagita, Ayumi Hara, Tomoe Sakai, Homare Sawa, Azusa Iwashimizu, Aya Miyama (sub Eriko Arakawa 46mins, sub Shinobu Ohno 63mins), Yuki Nagasato (sub Tomomi Miyamoto 76mins), Rumi Utsugi.
Brazil 4 China 0
Brazil stepped up their World Cup challenge with a crushing 4-0 victory over hosts China which almost guarantees their place in the last eight.
China almost went in front on the half hour mark as Song Xiaoli - their hero against Denmark - hit the bar but it was Brazil who broke the deadlock shortly before half time through a well taken goal by Marta.
Within three minutes of the start of the second half, Brazil were three goals ahead after two goals in quick succession from Cristiane. Marta rounded off the scoring midway through the second half with her second goal to take Brazil's tally to nine goals in two minutes, with none conceded.
Brazil: Andreia, Elaine, Aline, Tania, Renata Costa, Daniela (sub Rosana 79mins), Formiga (sub Simone 89mins), Maycon, Marta, Cristiane (sub Katia 85mins), Ester.
China: Han Wenxia, Li Jie, Wang Kun, Song Xiaoli, Xie Caixia (sub Liu Sa 67mins), Bi Yan, Pan Lina (sub Zhang Tong 52mins), Han Duan, Ma Xiaoxu, Pu Wei, Liu Yali (sub Zho Gaoping 57mins).
Denmark 2 New Zealand 0
Denmark still have a chance of qualifying for the quarter finals after two second half goals ended the challenge of New Zealand in Wuhan.
After the first half ended goalless, Denmark captain and former Fulham defender Katrine Pedersen curled in a free kick to give the Danes the breakthrough, just after the hour mark.
Five minutes later, Denmark made the game safe from another Pedersen free kick, this time a cross from which Cathrine Paaske Sorensen headed home.
Denmark now need to beat Brazil in their final group game for their best chance of qualification, but for New Zealand the tournament is all but over after defeats in their first two games.
Denmark: Heidi Johansen, Mia Olsen, Katrine Pedersen, Gitte Andersen, Bettina Falk, Cathrine Paaske Sorensen (sub Janne Madsen 86mins), Julie Rydahl Bukh, Anne Dot Eggers Nielsen, Merete Pedersen, Johanna Rasmussen (sub Camilla Sand 72mins), Mariann Gajhede (sub Maiken Pape 45mins).
New Zealand: Jenny Bindon, Ria Percival (sub Emma Humphries 70mins), Abby Erceg, Rebecca Smith, Hayley Moorwood (sub Annalie Longo 87mins), Wendi Henderson (sub Rebecca Tegg 64mins), Marlies Oostdam, Alexandra Riley, Maia Jackman, Priscilla Duncan, Emily McColl.
Australia 1 Norway 1
A late goal secured a vital point for Australia which keeps them on top of Group C with one match to play.
Norway got off to a good start as Ragnhild Gulbrandsen put them ahead after just five minutes but the Matildas bounced back with Collette McCallum going close to an equaliser.
For the second match running, Lisa De Vanna came off the bench to score, firing a 20-yard shot on the turn to keep her side in pole position on goal difference from the Norwegians.
Australia: Melissa Barbieri, Alicia Ferguson, Dianne Alagich, Cheryl Salisbury, Heather Garriock, Kathryn Gill (sub Sarah Walsh 61mins), Thea Slatyer, Collette McCallum, Lauren Colthorpe (sub Caitlin Munoz 76mins), Danielle Small (sub Lisa De Vanna 45mins), Joanne Burgess.
Norway: Bente Nordby, Ana Stangeland-Horpestad, Gunhild Folstad, Ingvild Stensland, Camilla Huse, Trine Ronning, Solveig Gulbrandsen (sub Lene Storlokken 86mins), Melissa Wiik (sub Lene Mykjaland 45mins), Leni Larsen Kaurin (sub Guro Knutsen 74mins), Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, Marie Knutsen.
Photo - Lisa De Vanna scores an unstoppable late equaliser for Australia
Canada 4 Ghana 0
Canada kept their qualification hopes alive but eliminated Ghana when beating them 4-0 in Hangzhou.
Both teams went into the game having been beaten in their opening matches but it was Canada who got off to a good start when Christine Sinclair gave them the lead with a looping header.
Anita Amankwa should have levelled the score on the stroke of half time but she hit the bar from close range, and the miss was compounded early in the second half as Sophie Schmidt headed home from a corner.
Sinclair completed her double after being set up by Kara Lang and Martina Franko rounded off the victory when she converted from another corner.
Canada: Erin McLeod, Kristina Kiss, Tanya Dennis, Diana Matheson (sub Andrea Neil 84mins), Candace-Marie Chapman, Martina Franko, Randee Hermus, Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang (sub Rhian Wilkinson 63mins), Katie Thorlakson (sub Jodi-Ann Robinson 45mins), Sophie Schmidt.
Ghana: Memunatu Sulemana, Aminatu Ibrahim, Mavis Danso, Florence Okoe, Adjoa Bayor (sub Safia Rahman 71mins), Gloria Floriwa, Olivia Amoako, Yaa Avoe (sub Hamdya Abass 35mins), Rumanatu Tahiru, Anita Amankwa, Memuna Darku (sub Lydia Ankrah 77mins).
Photo: Sophie Schmidt (out of picture) scores Canada's second goal (www.jamesprickett.co.uk).
England 0 Germany 0
England dug in to record one of the best results in their history and their destiny now lies in their own hands going into the final group game against Argentina.
A win will guarantee their place in the quarter finals and a brilliant defensive display kept the free scoring Germans at bay, giving them few chances and a fine late save from Rachel Brown helped England hold on for a precious point.
Hope Powell sprung a selection surprise before the game as Rachel Yankey was left out along with Eniola Aluko, which meant Mary Phillip starting at right back with Anita Asante coming into the centre, Alex Scott playing on the right and Karen Carney the left, and Kelly Smith playing as a lone striker.
The first attempt on goal came from Germany as Annike Krahn headed past the post from a corner while at the other end, Nadine Angerer misjudged a long ball forward but the ball bounced just past the post. From the resulting corner, Faye White headed wide.
Melanie Behringer drove a free kick over the bar but another kick led to unfortunate consequences for England, leading to a booking for Katie Chapman which rules her out of the final group match against Argentina.
The dreadful playing surface was making it difficult for both teams to keep possession and chances were scarce at either end as a result. England did have an opportunity as Smith narrowly failed to divert an inswinging Fara Williams free kick past Angerer and the German goalkeeper saved low down.
Germany created their best chance moments before half time as Kerstin Stegemann was released on the right, her cross picked out Kerstin Garefrekes whose header was saved by Rachel Brown.
At the start of the second half, Germany tried to step up the pace but England again stood firm with their powerful back four keeping the German attack away from goal. Germany did win a free kick as Williams brought down Prinz - a challenge which earned her a booking - but a poor effort from Lingor was easily fielded by Brown.
An increasingly frustrated Prinz was forced to trying long range efforts but the German star almost broke into the area after exchanging passes with Sandra Smisek, however a fine challenge from White was just enough to put her off and Brown saved comfortably.
Chapman produced an excellent block to deny Garefrekes in the area and the winger was denied by a superb save from Brown after the ball had bounced off Stoney and into her path. Prinz tried to latch on to the rebound but she was crowded out by the England defence and the danger was averted.
The England back four of Phillip, White, Asante and Stoney had defended brilliantly throughout the match with Chapman - who had played 75 minutes on a yellow card - giving one of her best ever performances for England. After two good performances, England must now finish the job in Chengdzu on Monday.
England: Rachel Brown, Mary Phillip, Casey Stoney, Katie Chapman, Faye White, Anita Asante, Alex Scott, Fara Williams, Jill Scott, Kelly Smith, Karen Carney (sub Rachel Yankey 56mins).
Germany: Nadine Angerer, Kerstin Stegemann, Annike Krahn, Linda Bresonik, Melanie Behringer (sub Fatmire Bajramaj 62mins), Sandra Smisek, Birgit Prinz, Renate Lingor, Simone Laudehr, Ariane Hingst, Kerstin Garefrekes.
Photo - They shall not pass......Katie Chapman, Kelly Smith and Faye White combine to keep
Birgit Prinz at bay (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
North Korea 2 Nigeria 0
North Korea took themselves to the brink of qualification for the quarter finals as two first half goals carried them to a 2-0 victory over Nigeria.
The Koreans took the lead in the 17th minute, Kim Kyong-Hwa scoring direct from a corner which looped over Precious Dede and into the net off the far post.
Four minutes later, another Kim corner led to North Korea doubling their lead, this time being headed powerfully home by Ri Kum-Suk.
North Korea pressed for further goals after the break, coming closest when Yun Song-Mi hit the bar, but the win means that jointly head the group with USA and require a point against Sweden to book their place in the last eight, whilst Nigeria have to beat the United States to keep their dwindling hopes alive.
North Korea: Jon Myong-Hui, Kim Kyong-Hwa (sub Jong Pok-Sim 77mins), Om Jong-Ran, Song Jong-Sun, Kil Son-Hui, Ri Un-Suk, Ri Kum-Suk, Ri Un-Gyong, Sonu Kyong-Sun, Kong Hye-Ok, Kim Yong-Ae.
Nigeria: Precious Dede, Efioanwan Ekpo, Perpetua Nkwocha, Onome Ebi (sub Lilian Cole 30mins), Stella Mbachu, Ifeanyi Chiejine (sub Chi-Chi Igbo 80mins), Rita Chikwelu (sub Maureen Mmadu 61mins), Christie George, Faith Ikidi, Ulumma Jerome, Cynthia Uwak.
Japan 1 Argentina 0
An injury time goal gave Japan victory and a chance of qualifying for the quarter finals but it spells the end of any remaining hopes for Argentina.
After their opening match humiliation at the hands of Germany, the Argentines defended much more resolutely on this occasion and looked as though they would emerge with a point to maintain their slim chances of getting through.
Indeed, Argentina almost went in front when a long range lob from Fabiana Vallejos hit the woodwork but as the game went into the dying minutes, just as they did against England in their opening match, Japan scored a vital goal.
Yukari Kinga's shot was saved by Romina Ferrero but Yuki Nagasato followed up to tuck home the rebound and a victory in their final match against Germany, unlikely as it may seem, will ensure that Japan will go through to the last eight.
Japan: Miho Fukumoto, Hiromi Isozaki, Kyoko Yano (sub Rumi Utsugi 50mins), Tomomi Miyamoto, Tomoe Sakai, Homare Sawa, Kozue Ando (sub Yukari Kinga 79mins), Azusa Iwashimuzu, Aya Miyama, Yuki Nagasato, Shinobu Ohno (sub Eriko Arakawa 57mins).
Argentina: Romina Ferro, Eva Gonzalez, Gabriela Chavez, Clarisa Huber (sub Andrea Ojeda 53mins), Maria Quinones (sub Emilia Mendieta 61mins), Catalina Perez, Florencia Mandrile, Fabiana Vallejos, Maria Potassa (sub Ludmila Manicler 77mins), Analia Almeida, Mercedes Pereyra.
Photo - Yuki Nagasato scores the winning goal for Japan (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
USA 2 Sweden 0
Two goals from much revered striker Abby Wambach proved to be the difference as the USA virtually made sure of their place in the last eight.
It was Sweden who started the better of the two sides and Hanna Ljungberg went close in the opening minutes but, after weathering the early storm, the USA took the lead ten minutes before half time as Lori Chalupny was brought down in the area and Wambach slotted home the resulting penalty.
Just before the hour mark, Wambach wrapped up the victory with an emphatic left foot finish to put the game beyond the Swedes.
A point from their final game against Nigeria will confirm the USA as qualifiers whilst Sweden will need nothing less than a victory against North Korea.
USA: Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Cat Whitehill, Lindsay Tarpley (sub Heather O'Reilly 67mins), Carli Lloyd (sub Shannon Boxx 45mins), Leslie Osborne, Kristine Lilly, Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Lori Chalupny, Abby Wambach.
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Stina Segerstrom (sub Therese Lundin 81mins), Hanna Marklund, Caroline Seger, Charlotta Schelin, Hanna Ljungberg, Victoria Svensson, Frida Ostberg, Therese Sjogran (sub Nilla Fischer 65mins), Anna Paulson, Linda Forsberg.
Karen Carney believes that England's opening performance in the World Cup means they should have little to fear when they take on Germany on Friday.
Having dominated the game with Japan in Shanghai, the Three Lions thrillingly turned the game around with nine minutes left only for Japan to snatch a late equaliser, and now they face Germany who opened with a comfortable 11-0 win over Argentina.
But Carney insists nothing will hold them back when they return to the Hongkou Stadium: "We've got nothing to fear from the Germans, we're going to go in and give it everything.
"We had a good result against them in the China Cup in January, I'm not scared and I don't think anyone else is. We just can't wait.
"Our fitness levels were good against Japan, the fact we scored two goals in the last ten minutes shows we are fit and strong."
Carney was also positive about making her World Cup debut, something she will remember for the rest of her career.
She told TheFA.com: "It was wicked, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a really thrilling game to play in.
"There were so many emotions, so many highs and lows, and I think it was a shame we finished on a little bit of a low as we were winning with moments to go.
"We had a gameplan and we stuck to it, and I think it worked to be fair. We created so many chances that we could have scored a lot more than two, and we've never played in a World Cup before apart from Mary. So for us to create so much in the opening game is great for confidence."
Carney was not alone in being surprised by Kelly Smith's celebration, particularly given a conversation they had prior to the game.
"She said to me before the game 'Where are you going to celebrate?' and I told her I would run to my family and the England lot. She said she was going to run to her dad, but when she scored she ran in the opposite direction - I said 'Where are you going?'
"That's what you expect from Kelly, that's why she's one of the best. Give her two sniffs on goal and she'll get you two goals - that's what you expect from a top quality player that she is. She worked really hard last night and she deserved both of her goals."
China 3 Denmark 2
A superbly struck late winning goal gave World Cup hosts China a dramatic 3-2 victory over Denmark in their opening match in Wuhan.
In a game which was remarkably similar to England's opening Euro 2005 match against Finland, China took the lead on the half hour via a free kick from Li Jie and they looked to be well on their way to victory as they doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half, Bi Yan firing home a shot from the edge of the area.
Denmark pulled a goal back a minute later as Han Wenxia misjudged the flight from a corner and Anne Dot Eggers Neilsen headed in at the far post, and they looked to have salvaged a point with two minutes remaining via a deflected header from Catherine Paaske Sorensen.
However as the game moved towards injury time, substitute Song Xioali crashed home a shot via the underside of the bar to send the home crowd into raptures and give China three precious points.
China: Han Wenxia, Li Jie (sub Liu Yali 90mins), Wang Kun, Xie Caixia, Bi Yan, Pan Lina, Han Duan, Ma Xiaoxu, Pu Wei, Qu Feifei (sub Song Xioali 58mins), Zhou Gaoping (sub Zhang Ying 68mins).
Denmark: Heidi Johansen, Mia Olsen, Katrine Pedersen, Gitte Andersen, Bettina Falk, Catherine Paaske Sorensen, Julie Rydahl Bukh, Maiken Pape, Anne Dot Eggers Neilsen, Johanna Rasmussen (sub Merete Pedersen 75mins), Mariann Gajhede (sub Stine Dimun 75mins).
Norway 2 Canada 1
Norway staged a fine second half comeback to claim an important victory against Canada in Hangzhou.
In an evenly balanced first half, it was the Canadians who went into the half time break with the advantage after Christine Sinclair set up Candace-Marie Chapman to fire home the opening goal.
After the interval, Norway carried the game to Canada and levelled the scores in the 51st minute, thanks to a fine header from Ragnhild Gulbrandsen. With nine minutes left on the clock, captain Ane Stangeland-Horpestad gave Norway the points when she scored from close range following a corner.
Norway: Bente Nordby, Ane Stangeland-Horpestad, Gunhild Folstad, Ingvild Stensland, Siri Nordby (sub Camilla Huse 45mins), Trine Ronning, Solveig Gulbrandsen, Melissa Wiik (sub Lene Mykjaland 66mins), Leni Larsen-Kaurin, Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, Lene Storlokken (sub Marie Knutsen 76mins).
Canada: Erin McLeod, Kristina Kiss, Tanya Dennis, Diana Matheson, Candace-Marie Chapman (sub Amy Walsh 73mins), Martina Franko, Randee Hermus, Christine Sinclair, Melissa Tancredi (sub Rhian Wilkinson 45mins), Kara Lang (sub Jodi-Ann Robinson 83mins), Sophie Schmidt.
Photo - Ane Stangeland-Horpestad forces home the winning goal for Norway (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
Australia 4 Ghana 1
Australia registered their first World Cup in convincing style with a 4-1 success over Ghana in Hangzhou.
After threatening during the early stages, Sarah Walsh opened the scoring for Australia with a left foot drive which went in off the inside of the post.
After the break, more good work from Walsh saw her set up half time substitute Lisa De Vanna for the second goal and Heather Garriock further tightened the Matildas' grip on the game when she headed in the third.
Anita Amankwa pulled a goal back for Ghana straight away but Australia, and De Vanna, had the final say when she latched on to Collette McCallum's through ball to slot home the fourth goal.
Australia: Melissa Barbieri, Kate McShea, Dianne Alagich, Cheryl Salisbury, Heather Garriock, Caitlin Munoz (sub Lisa De Vanna 45mins), Sarah Walsh, Joanne Peters (sub Alicia Ferguson 62mins), Collette McCallum, Sally Shipard, Clare Polkinghorne (sub Thea Slatyer 83mins).
Ghana: Memunatu Sulemana, Aminatu Ibrahim, Mavis Danso, Florence Okoe, Anita Amenuku (sub Hamdya Abass 67mins), Adjoa Bayor, Olivia Amoako, Yaa Avoe (sub Belinda Kanda 67mins), Lydia Ankrah, Anita Amankwa, Memuna Darku.
Photo - Sarah Walsh opens the scoring for Australia (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
Brazil 5 New Zealand 0
Brazil got their World Cup campaign off to a flying start by hitting five goals without reply against New Zealand in Wuhan.
Daniela opened the scoring after ten minutes with a 20-yard strike, the only goal of the first half, and Cristiane added the second early after the break. Star player Marta then sparked off a late three-goal burst with her first goal of the match.
Renata Costa increased Brazil's advantage with a long range effort and Marta rounded off the victory by completing her double.
Brazil: Andreia, Aline, Tania, Renata Costa, Daniela, Formiga, Maycon (sub Rosana 78mins), Marta, Cristiane (sub Pretinha 84mins), Simone, Ester.
New Zealand: Jenny Bindon, Ria Percival, Katie Hoyle (sub Priscilla Duncan 66mins), Abby Erceg, Rebecca Smith, Hayley Moorwood, Wendi Henderson (sub Rebecca Tegg 45mins), Alexandra Riley, Maia Jackman, Emma Humphries (sub Zoe Thompson 72mins), Emily McColl.
Kelly Smith remains proud of the England performance in Shanghai, believing that it was worthy of a victory, and she hailed the character of the players to come from a losing position with just ten minutes remaining.
"On the night we deserved all three points with a great performance," Kelly explained afterwards. "We dug deep and showed a lot of character, I'm very proud of the girls tonight.
"Around the hour mark I was emotionally tired, my legs were heavy and I just kept telling myself 'Just keep going, just keep going'. Lucky for me I had two chances that came my way and I managed to put them in the back of the net.
"But I'm just a little bit gutted for myself and the team because I felt we put on a performance that was worthy of three points.
"With a minute to go I could feel myself smiling inside, thinking 'Oh my God, we've picked up three points in the first game'. But then with the last kick of the game my emotions were just crazy, I thought we've thrown the game away. So I was on a real high and then brought back down to earth."
As for her unique celebration, Smith told journalists that it was something she dreamed about the night before the game following an upgrade on her boots from sponsors Umbro.
Smith said: "Umbro put my name on my boots for this tournament, and I dreamt the night before that if I was to score I would take them off and show everyone. I don't tie them up too tight so it was quite easy to get them off quickly."
Looking ahead to the next encounter Smith is calm and collected when speaks about Germany, a team she and the England team have faced on a number of occasions in recent years.
"We've played Germany a number of times and I'm confident we can get a result out of that one - the group's still open. There are two games to go, and I do feel we are still in it.
"We don't fear anybody. We're a good side going forward and we showed that again, we were one-nil down and we showed great spirit to turn the game in our favour. We have to take a lot of confidence from that in the next game."
England 2 (Smith 81,83) Japan 2 (Miyama 55,90)
A last gasp free kick denied England victory in their opening World Cup match when star striker Kelly Smith seemed to have given them the perfect start.
In truth, it was a game that England should have won comfortably as they squandered a series of chances before the brilliance of Smith looked to have settled matters in their favour, before a harsh decision led to a cruel ending.
Hope Powell gave Casey Stoney the nod for the left back position whilst Faye White returned to the centre of defence, in place of the injured Anita Asante.
England forced a corner in the opening minute but it was Japan who created the first opportunity, Arakawa stabbing a shot just wide after exchanging passes.
The first glimpse of Kelly Smith in a threatening position came just before the quarter hour as she received the ball from a throw in and turned into the area but her left foot shot was narrowly off target.
Aya Miyama chipped a shot over the bar after finding space on the edge of the area but England, after having looked nervous in the opening stages, began to settle down and won a number of corners, whilst Katie Chapman fired a shot wide at the second attempt.
England were presented with a glorious chance in the 38th minute as Miho Fukumoto raced off her line to clear and was beaten to the ball by Eniola Aluko, but the England striker hurriedly sent her shot past the post.
England made a very bright start to the second half and created another good chance as Karen Carney played an excellent ball into the path of Fara Williams but Fukumoto pulled off a fine save to deny the England midfielder. Smith then broke down the left and cut the ball back for Chapman whose goalbound shot was charged down as England stepped up the pressure.
However after England's good start, disaster struck in the 55th minute as Chapman was penalised for a foul on Homare Sawa on the edge of the area. The Japanese repeated their earlier, unusual, tactic of players kneeling down in front of the wall but Aya Miyama's swerving shot deceived Rachel Brown in the England goal and found the net to give Japan the lead.
England almost hit back immediately as Smith controlled and turned in the area but her shot was blocked by Kozue Anzo. Fukumoto denied Carney as she was sent through by Alex Scott and Smith hit the side netting with a powerful 20-yard strike.
The frustration continued as Scott played a delightful low ball across goal but no England was player was there to tap the ball home, Aluko's angled shot cannoned off Anzo but looped over the bar.
Brown was forced to save a snap shot from Shinobu Ohno but another chance went begging at the other end; Carney's left foot cross was latched onto by Yankey but she directed her header wide.
Williams was just off target following some good hold up play by Smith but, with ten minutes left, England finally got the breakthrough. Carney found Smith in the area where she turned, for once the ball broke kindly for her and she steered a left foot shot past Fukumoto for the equaliser.
Barely a minute had passed when Smith again burst into the area, her initial shot was parried by Fukumoto but Smith fired home the rebound and the game had been turned on its head in a matter of minutes.
There was a worrying moment as Brown needed treatment after bravely saving from Arakawa. After getting up again, she threw the ball straight to Yuki Nagasato but Lindsay Johnson did well to cover as the striker bore down on goal. However heartbreak was to happen in the fourth minute of the three added on, following a poor refereeing decision.
Mary Phillip was harshly penalised for an innocuous looking challenge on Arakawa and Miyama stepped up again to plant an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net. The final whistle blew immediately and joy had turned into frustration.
England: Rachel Brown, Alex Scott (sub Lindsay Johnson 88mins), Casey Stoney, Katie Chapman, Faye White, Mary Phillip, Karen Carney, Fara Williams, Eniola Aluko, Kelly Smith (sub Jill Scott 73mins), Rachel Yankey.
Japan: Miho Fukumoto, Hiromi Isozaki (sub Yuki Nagasato 84mins), Yukari Kinga (sub Kozue Anzo 45mins), Azusa Iwashimuzu, Aya Miyama, Shinobu Ohno, Tomomi Miyamoto (sub Ayumi Hara 70mins), Tomoe Sakai, Eriko Arakawa, Homare Sawa, Rumi Utsugi.
Photo: Kelly Smith scores England's first goal (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
Nigeria 1 Sweden 1
Nigeria conjured up a late equaliser to claim a vital point against Sweden, leaving all four teams in Group B level on points following the opening matches.
Sweden had the better of the play in the first half with Hanna Ljungberg and Victoria Svensson both hitting the bar, the former via an excellent save from Precious Dede. After looking nervous early on, Nigeria grew in confidence and kept the score goalless going into half time.
Five minutes after the restart, Sweden got the breakthrough as Frida Ostberg played in Svensson who slotted the ball past Dede for the opening goal.
However the Nigerians did not give up and got their reward with eight minutes left as Cynthia Uwak - who plays her club football in Sweden - gave them a share of the spoils with a 15-yard finish.
Nigeria: Precious Dede, Perpetua Nkwocha, Onome Ebi, Ifeanye Chiejine, Rita Chikwelu, Chi-Chi Igbo (sub Stella Mbachu 35mins), Christie George, Faith Ikidi, Maureen Mmadu (sub Efioanwan Ekpo 59mins), Ulumma Jerome, Cynthia Uwak.
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Stina Segerstrom, Hanna Marklund, Caroline Seger, Sara Thunebro, Charlotta Schelin (sub Linda Forsberg 83mins), Hanna Ljungberg (sub Sara Johansson 69mins), Victoria Svensson, Frida Ostberg, Therese Sjogran, Anna Paulson.
USA 2 North Korea 2
The World Cup opened up as a contest with a cracking match between two of the main challengers played in pouring rain in Chengdu.
In a goalless first half, North Korea started very brightly but it was the USA who went closest to breaking the deadlock as Abby Wambach hit the bar with a towering header, four minutes before the break.
Five minutes after the restart, Wambach did put the Americans in front when latching onto Kristine Lilly's pass and her shot slipped through the grasp of Jon Myong-Hui on its way into the net. The lead lasted just eight minutes, USA goalkeeper Hope Solo making a similar error as she fumbled Kil Son-Hui's shot into the goal.
North Korea then went in front for the first time, Kim Yong-Ae forcing the ball home from close range following a goalmouth scramble but Heather O'Reilly rescued a point for the USA via a clinical finish.
USA: Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Cat Whitehill, Shannon Boxx, Heather O'Reilly (sub Natasha Kai 90mins), Carli Lloyd, Kristine Lilly, Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Lori Chalpuny, Abby Wambach.
North Korea: Jong Myong-Hui, Kim Kyong-Hwa, Om Jong-Ran, Song Jong-Sun, Ho Sun-Hui (sub Kim Yong-Ae 22mins, sub Jong Pok-Sim 90mins), Kil Son-Hui, Ri Un-Suk, Ri Kum-Suk, Ri Un-Gyong, Sonu Kyong-Sun, Kong Hye-Ok.
Germany began the defence of the World Cup in ominous form as they crushed a hapless Argentina side 11-0 in the opening match in Shanghai.
The showpiece match turned into an embarrassing one-sided affair and a chilling warning for England who face Germany in their second group match.
The rout began in the 12th minute as Argentine goalkeeper Vanina Correa palmed a corner into her own net and Kerstin Garefrekes added the second five minutes later. The match was over as a contest when Melanie Behringer scored the third and it was four by the half hour, Brigit Prinz getting onto the scoresheet. Prinz then netted a fifth in first half injury time to further cement German superiority.
After the break, although Argentina did not give up, they still faced wave after wave of German attacks with Renate Lingor on target, Sandra Smisek scoring her first and Prinz completing her hat-trick just before the hour.
Germany were opening up the Argentine defence at will with Smisek finishing off two clinical passing moves to register her own hat-trick and Argentina's nightmare was completed in injury time as Correa once again turned a corner into the net for her second own goal.
Germany: Angerer, Stegemann, Bresonik, Behringer (sub Wimbersky 68mins), Smisek, Prinz, Lingor, Minnert, Laudehr (sub Bartusiak 74mins), Hingst, Garefrekes (sub Mittag 84mins).
Argentina: Correa, Gonzalez, Cotelo, Chavez, Barbitta Nuno, Huber (sub Mandrile 74mins), Gomez (sub Pereyra 66mins), Quinones, Vallejos, Potassa, Almeida (sub Manicler 53mins).
Photo: Birgit Prinz heads home Germany's fourth goal (www.jamesprickett.co.uk).
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