A bountiful Saturday at the FIFA Women’s World Cup saw four matches take place across Australia and New Zealand.
World champion USA and Euro 2022 champion England began their journey to raise the trophy with victory as Haiti and Vietnam were defeated.
Denmark and Japan also won against China and Zambia, respectively.
Here, the PA news agency will review all actions.
Owner on form
Sophia Smith’s two first-half goals helped the United States successfully defend the Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam in Auckland.
But the league favorites squandered in front of goal, missing a penalty as they failed to turn their dominance – 28 shots off target – into a bolder victory over a weak but determined opponent.
Rising star Smith put them ahead in the 14th minute, after Alex Morgan’s cross to hit goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Tranh.
The United States dominated for the rest of the first half but could not take the lead: Julie Ertz, debutant Savannah DeMelo, Lindsay Horan, Smith and Morgan all had chances before Morgan squandered their best, Kim Tranh saving a penalty kick for a foul on Trinity Rodman.
Japan knocked out group leaders Zambia in the World Cup to start their campaign with an easy 5-0 win.
Hinata Miyazawa scored a brace with Mina Tanaka scoring between her two goals and Jun Endo adding a fourth to put Japan ahead.
There was still time for late drama as Zambia goalkeeper Catherine Musonda was sent off for conceding a late penalty.
Substitute Eunice Sakala saved a free kick from Riko Ueki but Ueki scored on the second attempt after Sakala was deemed fouled.
hard work for England
Georgia Stanway’s second-half penalty retake was enough to give England a tense 1-0 win over World Cup debutant Haiti in their Group D opener at the Brisbane Stadium.
It wasn’t the decisive win most people expected for the European champions and world No. 4 against a team 49 places behind them in the FIFA rankings.
Haiti had come close to leveling on more than one occasion, including a chance late in the second half that was saved at the last minute by Mary Earps’ outstretched leg.
Although the Lions ultimately walked away with all three points, it was a poor performance that will raise questions from boss Sarina Wiegman.
Likely England’s strongest group D opponent, Denmark sealed a 1-0 win over China thanks to a late substitute Amalie Vangsgaard’s goal.
The Paris St Germain forward continued with five minutes to go in Perth and broke the deadlock when she headed in a Penille Harder corner as the clock ticked 90 minutes.
The goal persisted after a VAR check when officials ruled that defender Rikke Sevecke failed to stop Xu Huan in the Chinese goal from thwarting Vansgaard’s effort.
Denmark and England now go head-to-head on Friday, with both sides aiming to improve on their tight wins.
Photo of the day
Quote of the day
Post of the day
Group G: Sweden v South Africa (6pm Sunday, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington)Group E: Netherlands v Portugal (8:30am Sunday, Dunedin Stadium, Dunedin)Group F: France v Jamaica (11pm Sunday, Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney)All time BST