2023 Women’s World Cup Day 2 Recap

Thor Benander
Thor Benander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Antagonist and a father of four. He’s a lover of ancient history, Greek food, and sports. He loves to travel and thinks that if libraries were the center of American society, many things would improve overnight. You can hit him up at hilordcastleton@gmail.com.

Three matches today. I was coming off of a huge high from that stunning New Zealand victory on day one. How did day two stack up?

Hero of the Day

Costa Rica goaltender Daniela Solera, who faced FORTY FIVE shots from La Roja, letting only three get past her and saving ten. She was all over the place keeping her match from becoming a double-digit nightmare.

Honorable mention: Antionette Oyedupe Payne, Nigeria

She didn’t impact the game in a way anyone would particularly notice, but the Duke grad and Birmingham native was a calming influence for the Super Falcons and struck a number of excellent corner kicks and set piece balls that were on the mark.

Thought of the Day

We have Trinity Rodman. But Spain has Salma Paralluelo…who might even be better and is two years younger.

Nigeria vs Canada

It’s tough to truly back a team in this match. Nigeria – and every other women’s program in Africa – has some inherent difficulties that other nations don’t have to deal with, so naturally you want to root for them as an underdog. But I never root against Canada for any reason, even when they’re playing the USA. I may not specifically root for them in that case, but I never root against them.

That and I’m a huge fan of their coach, Bev Priestman. She’s excellent.

Ultimately this game served up more questions than answers. Nigeria bunkered from the first second, so it was up to Canada to find a way to get balls through and it proved difficult. Canada had a chance to pull in front but world all-time-leading international scorer Christine Sinclair was unable to knock in a penalty shot and the match finished as a nil-nil draw. Nigeria celebrated like it was a victory. Canada was distraught. Like I mentioned in my World Cup overview: it’s an uphill battle for Canada in this group. They can do it, but it won’t be a milk run.

phillipines vs switzerland

Phillipines came out scrappy and firing on all cylinders, much like the Ferns from New Zealand, but they just didn’t have the legs for it. You have to love the determination, but from almost the first minute it looked like La Nati’s game to lose.

Unsurprisingly, Ramona Bachmann was a notable standout. She did one move that was so sick I had to rewind it four times just to try to understand what her feet did. Unreal.

spain vs costa rica

Every single team in the tournament should feel fear. That’s all there is to it. I feel like I’ve been alone in yelling about how good La Roja is and now that I’ve seen them? They’re even better than I thought. I expected them to have problems without Mapi Leon and Patri and Pina, but they’re hungry and dangerous. And I’ve been hammering the point home about how good Aitana is (in addition to Alexia, she’s an embarrassment of riches).

Now add Esther to that. And Olga. And Hermosa. Hermosa nutmegged someone without looking. A no-look nutmeg as casually as picking up an apple at the grocery store. But the real story is Parralluelo. I mean, oh my god. She’s a third ace. This Spanish team is so stacked it’s nuts. Pundits who predicted them getting bumped by lesser teams are late to the game on this one. Spain is REAL. I’ve never in my life seen a women’s side process information and move the ball accordingly based on that information. They’re like a hive mind.

Every other team should watch them and feel mild panic.

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