Disappointment for England -- again

June, 27, 2011

Fara Williams scored in the 21st minute and Monica Ocampo evened things up 12 minutes later as England and Mexico played to a 1-1 draw in the second game of today's Group B action. The tie puts the two teams in a tie for second place in Group B behind Japan, with their next matches taking place on Friday.

Here are three things we learned from the match:

1. For England a tie is a loss, but for Mexico a tie is a win

England's Faye White and Kelly Smith both told the media this week that they want to win Group B, considered the easiest of the groups in this year's World Cup, to avoid having to play Germany in the quarterfinals. A tie does them no favors and puts Japan (which beat New Zealand 2-1 today) in the driver's seat. It's also disappointing for England to come out flat in the opening game of a major international tournament, which we've seen before -- a tie in 2007 Women's World Cup and a loss in the opening round of the 2009 European Championships. Though England bounced back both times, it wanted to make a statement in this tournament.

"I'm happy we didn't lose the game, that's the main thing," England coach Hope Powell told Eurosport after the match, while acknowledging her disappointment in the result.

The lack of finishing for England -- best exemplified by a whiff five yards in front of goal from Eniola Aluko midway through the second half -- will not sit well with the team as it prepares to face New Zealand.

For Mexico, it's a great result. A tie keeps it in what should be a wide open group with Japan up next. Even finishing second, and yes, facing Germany in the quarterfinals, would be a positive result for Mexico, a team few picked to advance out of Group B.

2. Fara Williams is healthy

Much of the World Cup warm-up for England was dominated by concern over key midfielder Williams' health after taking an injury to her knee. But Williams was England's liveliest player for most of the match on Monday, and scored a beautiful header goal off a cross from Karen Carney. She also added one of England's best attempts on goal, a ripped shot from distance that forced 16-year-old Mexican goalkeeper Ceci Santiago to make her best save of the match in the 27th minute.

3. Mexico can play

While much of the postgame reaction will -- and should -- center around a disappointment for England, it's important to remember that Mexico did play well to earn the 1-1 draw. Santiago showed that her performance against the U.S. earlier this month was no fluke and Monica Ocampo scored a screaming goal in the 33rd minute to keep England from running away with it. In the game's final minutes, Mexico played for the tie, but until that point it had been going for all three points.




You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?