Jill Roord came off the bench and scored in stoppage time to give the Netherlands a 1-0 victory over New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup group opener for both teams Tuesday in Le Havre, France.
The Netherlands, ranked No. 8 in the world, controlled possession throughout the game but couldn’t get by New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler until Roord’s breakthrough header.
The tough loss after a strong defensive effort means 19th-ranked New Zealand is still looking for its first-ever World Cup victory. Tom Sermanni, former coach of the Australia and U.S. national teams, was hired as coach of New Zealand last October in time for the Ferns to qualify for their fifth World Cup.
The Netherlands made its World Cup debut in 2015 and got through to the knockout stage but lost to eventual runner-up Japan. The team has raised it profile since, winning the 2017 Euros.
SWEDEN 2, CHILE 0 Kosovare Asllani’s goal after a weather delay broke up a scoreless stalemate in Rennes, France, and Sweden went on to win its Women’s World Cup opener and spoil Chile’s debut in the tournament.
Thunder prompted a delay in the match in the 72nd minute. It was resumed about 40 minutes later.
Asllani’s goal, Sweden’s 60th in World Cup play, came in the 83rd minute. Madelen Janogy came in off the bench and added a goal in stoppage time for the Swedes, who are ranked No. 9 in the world.
Chile, ranked No. 39 and the fifth South American team to play in a World Cup, was hurt in the 59th minute when Maria Urrutia was injured and had to be stretchered off. It was about the same time that heavy rains moved in at Roazhon Park.
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FIFA’s attempt to hype Women’s World Cup ticket sales didn’t go exactly as planned.
The sport’s governing body gave the impression that tickets for the tournament were hard to come by when it boasted to the public a month ago: “You can still buy tickets for a few matches.”
But with the opening weekend taking place against the backdrop of many empty seats, FIFA came clean after providing misleading information.
Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president, said in Paris last week that 20 of the 52 matches had been sold out. FIFA revised that number to 14 on Tuesday, meaning that 70 percent of games will not be at capacity as it stands.
Of the nine games in the opening four days of the tournament, the only capacity crowds were at host France’s victory over South Korea in Paris on Friday and at Brazil’s win over Jamaica in Grenoble.
While providing details of ticket sales, FIFA did not respond to questions about why it implied on Twitter on May 7 that there was little availability, nor why Infantino inflated ticket sales.
Some fans stopped looking for tickets after FIFA hinted that they were hard to come by.
When neighbors England and Scotland played in Nice on Sunday, almost two-thirds of the stadium in Nice was empty. FIFA had said 16,000 tickets were sold, but the attendance given during England’s 2-1 win was 13,188. The game did attract a record domestic audience in Britain for women’s soccer, with a peak of more than six million viewers.