In what I would describe as the first “boring game” of this Women’s World Cup, Argentina pulled off what is possibly the shock of the tournament so far as they picked up a fantastic point. They held the 2015 silver medallists and 2011 Champions, Japan, to a goalless draw.
Argentina were good value for their point too. Despite a couple of periods where they were under pressure, the Argentine side did a great job in staving off the Japanese attacking threat. At the end of the game, there was hugging, celebration and even a few tears. You’d think they’d just won the World Cup but in reality, they’d simply picked up their first ever World Cup point.
It’s potentially the first of many over the years to come as the Argentinian FA has just recently announced a new 16-team professional women’s football league. Players like Lorena Benitez, who works on a market stall with her partner everyday, will be able to focus solely on football.
On the flip side, this was a poor result for a Japanese side who aren’t quite what they once were. With the line coming out of the Japanese camp being that they’re focusing on securing gold at their home Olympic Games next summer, it seems unlikely they’ll be in a third consecutive World Cup final this year. They struggled to create many clear cut chances throughout the game against much poorer opposition.
England and Scotland will both have been licking their chops watching that one. It gives Phil Neville’s side a two-point advantage at the top of the group already and with the performance, Shelley Kerr and her team will be thinking second place may just be on offer in this group.
A thoroughly disappointing performance from Japan but for Argentina, jubilation. Congratulations to Carlos Borrello and his team on their first EVER World Cup point.