FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on Optus Sport
FIFA Women's World Cup (image - Optus Sport)

Daily Update | FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on Optus Sport (22 July)

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on Optus Sport – It’s day three of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ in Australia and New Zealand and the football is coming thick and fast.

Nigeria were handed the first red card of the tournament yesterday in a dramatic draw with Canada, while Switzerland and Spain proved too strong for the Philippines and Costa Rica respectively.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the second day of action, as well as what you missed from the day before.

FROM MATCHDAY 2:

  • Nigeria 0-0 Canada
  • Philippines 0-2 Switzerland
  • Spain 3-0 Costa Rica

What’s on today:

Saturday is our biggest day of the tournament so far with four live games, including the two tournament favourites both in action.

USA vs Vietnam (11am AEST)

Firstly we return to Auckland and Eden Park for the first time since the tournament curtain raiser as the USWNT kick off their attempt at a three-peat against Vietnam.

The US have never lost to an Asian nation at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, but they have never faced Vietnam either, who are making their finals debut.

The back-to-back champions will be looking to extend a record-breaking run which has seen them win all of their last 12 games in the tournament, having not lost a game at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, since 2011.

They have a goal difference of +32 during that period too, so expect the goals to flow against Vietnam.

Vietnam reached the finals after qualifying thanks to reaching the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup – the first time they’d reached the knockout rounds of that competition.

If they were to steal a win against the US it would go down as one of the biggest upsets in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ history.

Zambia vs Japan (5pm AEST)

We stay in New Zealand for the second game of the day as Zambia and Japan clash in Hamilton.

The Copper Queens are making their first appearance at a World Cup – men’s or women’s – while Japan are one of seven countries to have featured in every edition of the tournament to date.

Zambia are one of the lowest-ranked teams at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2022™ in 77th place and qualified for the tournament after narrowly losing out to South Africa in the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations last year.

That’s compared to Japan who are ranked 11th and are the last team not called USA to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

They actually went close to going back to back in 2011 and 2015 until they were brushed aside by a dominant US side in the final.

The last time Japan tasted defeat in a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ opener it was 1995 and they won’t anticipate that changing against Zambia.

England vs Haiti (7.30pm AEST)

If the USWNT aren’t to be champions for a third consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup™, then England are expected to have a big say in who does.

The 2022 European champions were firm favourites to add the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to their trophy cabinet until injuries struck down a number of key players, including Euro 2022’s top scorer and player of the tournament Beth Mead, their captain Leah Williamson and star forward Fran Kirby.

England’s players have played more minutes of football this season than any other squad and injuries are a natural consequence of this.

However, their absence has given opportunities to new Lionesses, with Chelsea’s Lauren James making quite the impression alongside Sam Kerr in the WSL this year.

Haiti, on the other hand, will play their first FIFA Women’s World Cup™ game and their hopes on causing a shock lie with teenager Melchie Dumornay, who has just secured a move to European powerhouses Lyon.

If England keep her quiet they should find the game relatively straightforward, but that’s far easier said than done.

Denmark vs China (10pm AEST)

This is probably the most finely-balanced game with 15th-ranked Denmark taking on 16th-ranked China.

Denmark have not been at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ since 2007 but produced a dominant display in qualifying, winning all eight games and outscoring their opponents 40-2.

They’ve also beaten Sweden and Japan in two of their last three games before losing 2-0 to Spain.

The last time Denmark and China faced each other at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ the Chinese ran out 3-2 winners and they will be confident they can repeat the feat again on Saturday night in Perth.

China won the Asian Cup last year and have reached the knockout rounds in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ they’ve played in except for 2011.

They’ve only lost once in nine FIFA Women’s World Cup™ games against European opponents and these two in-form teams are sure to put on a show.

Players to watch

Alex Morgan (USA)

Alex Morgan won the Silver Boot last time out behind teammate Megan Rapinoe but is amongst the favourites to go one step further this time around.

With more than 200 caps for the USWNT and a record of more than a goal every other game, she’s been one of the most prolific strikers on the planet since bursting onto the scene in 2010.

Australia and New Zealand is her fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup™ and she has only not gone home with a winner’s medal once – where she was a runner up in 2011.

Yui Hasegawa (Japan)

Manchester City star Yui Hasegawa cites Ronaldinho and Andres Iniesta as two of her inspirations in football and she certainly plays like it.

At just 5ft 2, the diminutive midfielder picked City to join from West Ham because she was attracted to the way they play – which is modelled on Pep Guardiola’s men’s side.

She’s only one of two Japanese footballers playing in the WSL, along with Arsenal star Mana Iwabuchi, and has become the beating heart of City’s midfield.

Lauren James (England)

Sister to Chelsea and England defender Reece James, Lauren James’ form this season has seen her build a compelling argument that she is the most talented sibling in her family.

Alongside Australia’s Sam Kerr, the 21-year-old helped the Blues to a domestic double, scoring seven goals and providing two assists for Emma Hayes’ all-conquering side.

She might not be a guaranteed starter just yet for the Lionesses but will be electric off the bench and should she transfer her Chelsea form to international level, we could be about to see something special.

Pernille Harder (Denmark)

Denmark captain Pernille Harder has been one of the shining lights of Chelsea’s WSL championship side since arriving from Wolfsburg in 2020.

She’s scored 44 goals in 79 appearances in that time and has been dubbed “one of the best attacking players in the world” by manager Emma Hayes.

However she left the Blues at the end of this season to move back to Germany with Bayern Munich and expect her to prove why she was such a hot commodity in Denmark’s opener against China.

Where to watch

Like every game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, USA vs Vietnam, Zambia vs Japan, England vs Haiti and Denmark vs China will all be shown live and on demand on Optus Sport.

Live coverage begins from 10am (AEST) on Optus Sport with USA vs Vietnam, with live coverage running all the way through until after Denmark vs China.

Media Release – Optus Sport

Link to Optus Sport HERE

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Expert live match commentary team announced for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ on Optus Sport

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