It is not usually a scoreline that draws the headlines, but a goalless draw was enough for Argentina to claim the plaudits on matchday five. Their maiden FIFA Women's World Cup™point - at their seventh attempt - came against 2011 champions Japan, whose momentum as finalists from the past two editions was halted by a resolute performance by the South Americans.
In the later kick-off, 2015 hosts Canada began their France 2019 campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against an equally-steadfast Cameroon side. In a similar pattern to the earlier game, the heavyweight slugged it out against a tactically firm and defensive minnow. However, on this occasion, the dominant force broke the resistance—Kadeisha Buchanan's first half headed effort was enough to secure all three points.
Argentina got their first ever Women's World Cup point after a very strong defensive performance. The Albiceleste players plugged every gap in their incredibly strong backline, containing the usually precise Japanese side's attack. It is fair to say that the team struggled in the final third, but that was to be expected against such a powerhouse of the women's game, and after expending so much of their energy on their defensive work. The result is not only historic, but a great foundation on which to base their France 2019 campaign.
This scoreless draw was the result of the work ethic of two incredibly diligent teams cancelling each other out. Japan held the ball well but were unable to create clear-cut opportunities to truly trouble the Argentina defence.
For their opponents, it was a result that was celebrated like a victory. Their post-match jubilance should serve to fire up the Nadeshiko in a positive way. One of Japan's strong points is the ability to solve problems in a short space of time. We should see goals in the next game.
The high energy levels in the first half saw both teams working hard to create opportunities. Cameroon’s strong defence held off Canada’s organised build-up play until Buchanan’s breakthrough just before the interval. With a one-goal lead and the pressure slightly off, Canada confidently continued their strategy of creative forward play, and Cameroon were unable to exert the same level of pressure in the second half as they had in the first.
Cameroon were strong in defence but their attacking plan seemed to be simply hoping for an error by their opponent in order to make a breakthrough. Yes, they could have done better, because Canada left some spaces here and there - and they did lack some clarity in front of goal - but Alain Djeumfa's side were positively aggressive in their general play and defensive work.
Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com