Newcomer Netherlands wins World Cup debut
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Netherlands became the first team since England in 1995 to win its Women's World Cup debut, beating New Zealand 1-0 on a first-half goal from Lieke Martens. Here are three observations from the second Group A game of opening day.
1. Canada's crowd didn't disappoint
Unlike most games in which the home fans bolt after their team plays, a good chunk of the crowd at Commonwealth Stadium stayed and was very much engaged in the late match between New Zealand and the Netherlands. New Zealand coach Tony Readings said he was impressed with how loud the crowd got in the early game when Christine Sinclair scored Canada's game winner against China, and was surprised the fans stuck around and showed so much enthusiasm for the night game.
"The crowd was fantastic," he said. "I thought they got behind both teams in our game. There was quite a big Dutch contingent today that made themselves very vocal, but I think it was a good game of two possession-based teams, and I think the crowd appreciated that and they got behind both teams."
2. New Zealand needs to find a way to finish
New Zealand hasn't scored in its past four matches, and has now been shut out in six of 10 World Cup games. The Kiwis had their chances Saturday night with five shots on goal, but couldn't capitalize.
"Definitely, we need to score to win games," Readings said. "We've just got to keep doing what we're doing and trust that these goals will come. The performance is there, the chances are there; we've got the players of the right quality. And now it's just down to executing. I think the biggest things is that we are creating chances. If we weren't we'd be worried."
3. Lost in translation
Maybe it was because he was so excited that his country won its first Women's World Cup match ever -- he was actually extremely stoic -- but Netherlands coach Roger Reijners talked so fast in the postgame news conference that it vexed the translator, who at one point muttered, "Jesus Christ," over the headphones.
Reijners did slow down enough to explain that forward Vivianne Miedema, who assisted on the game-winning goal, played Saturday night despite suffering from a migraine. Asked if it was something she regularly experienced, Reijners said, "I cannot give you an answer to that right now." At least that's probably what the translator heard.