World Cup 2023 - Italy squeeze past Argentina as Germany and Brazil record big wins on Match Day 5
Italy squeezed past Argentina as Germany and Brazil recorded big wins to cap off a big Match Day 5.
Italy kicked off their World Cup campaign with a hard-fought win over Argentina in Group G.
In a physical encounter which saw six yellow cards dished out, neither team were short on chances.
But, it took until the 86th minute for Italy to break through a tenacious Argentine defence.
Lisa Boattin’s diagonal ball found star-striker Cristiana Girelli who rose above her marker to head past Argentine keeper Vanina Correa to seal the narrow win for Le Azzure. In the afternoon fixture, world number two Germany stamped their authority on the competition as they thrashed Morocco 6-nil in front of a near capacity crowd in Melbourne. Veteran striker Alexandra Popp got Germany off to the perfect start as she headed home for the German opener. One would become two in short succession for Popp as she sent Germany into the sheds with a 2-goal buffer.
The second half began in a similar vein for the Germans as Klara Buhl made it three as Germany again beat Moroccan keeper, Khadija Er-Rmichi. The scoreline went from bad to worse for the Moroccans defenders Hanane El Haj and Yasmin M’Rabet found their own net following German corners.
Germany then sealed the thrashing as substitute Lea Schuller made it 6-nil on the stroke of 90mins.
They'll now face Colombia at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday. In the late fixture, the samba flair was in full force as Ari Borges led Brazil to a big 4-nil win over Panama in Adelaide.
Brazil tested the Panamanian goal from kick-off but it was an 18th minute header from Borges that opened the scoring at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Brazil then doubled their lead before half-time as Borges reacted the quickest to a loose ball initially saved by Panama keeper, Yenith Bailey.
In what could be the goal of the tournament so far, Brazil made it 3-nil as they passed their way through a packed Panama 18-yard box. Bia Zanaratto finished off the slick move following a neat back-heel from Borges sending the pro-Brazilian crowd into raptures.
Borges would then top off her player of the match performance, and her hat-trick in the 70th minute when she headed home to seal the 4-nil thrashing. Matchday 6 will see Colombia and South Korea kick-off their opening fixtures when they meet in Sydney.
Home nation New Zealand will be back in action against the Philippines as part of Group A, a win will see the Football Ferns in the box seat to progress to the knock-out phase for the very first time. In the other Group A fixture, it’ll be do or die for Norway as they take on Switzerland in Hamilton.