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2023 Women's World Cup

The Big Story Day 5: Italy defeat Argentina with late goal, Germany dominate Morocco, Ary Borges scores a hat trick

Daniela Porcelli / SPP

Day 5 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup saw Italy play Argentina, Germany face Morocco, and Brazil take on Panama.

Slept through it and need to know what the big story is? This is what happened on the fifth day of the World Cup.

Your bite-sized recap of Day 5 of the 2023 Women’s World Cup

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Italy 1, Argentina

The Big Story: Argentina played in their fourth World Cup, but is still looking for their illusive first win in group play after a late goal by Italy.

The Big Moment: In the 87th minute, Italy was finally able to break through and find a goal when a Lisa Boattin cross from distance found the head of Cristiana Girelli who had subbed in just four minutes earlier.

What it means: It was a highly physical match in Eden Park with 34 fouls and six yellows between the two teams, and there could’ve easily been more. Argentina ended the first half with four shots, but none on goal. Italy only had two official shots, though they did have two goals called back because of very clear offside calls. The Argentine backline did a solid job of containing the Italian attackers throughout the match. Italy seemed to control much of the play through the first half, but Argentina did eventually find their footing and retain possession of the ball more as the half went on. One thing that didn’t get better through the half for Argentina was their passing accuracy and looking rushed while in transition, leading to turnovers.

Going into the second half, Argentina looked like they had adjusted well and shot a very dangerous free kick in the opening minutes. After that, Italy really started pressing forward. Even though they were spending a lot of time just outside of the Argentine box, Italy struggled to create dangerous chances. The Azzurre struggled with inaccurate final passes, trying to force shots, or shooting right at the Argentinian goalkeeper Vanina Correa, until they scored in the final minutes of regulation.

-Taylor Vincent

Germany 6, Morocco 0

The Big Story: Germany opened World Cup play with a statement win over debutants Morocco, proving why they should be one of the favorites to win it all.

The Big Moment: Alexandra Popp is a brilliant goalscorer, but in previous editions of this tournament, she scored a total of only three goals in 15 appearances. This time around, she had two in one match. If Popp scores at the rate she showed she is capable of during the 2022 EUROs, Germany will go far. With her towering presence always ready to attack any cross or set piece, Germany are never out of a game.

What it means: There were concerns about this Germany team coming in. Lena Oberdorf, the tempo setter and destroyer in midfielder, is temporarily unavailable due to injury. Who would fill in? Missing a natural right back, the EURO 2022 runner-ups played veteran midfielder Svenja Huth in that position.

Despite these questions, Germany came in and dominated, scoring the fastest goal of the tournament so far and the most goals of any game so far. They dominated possession, holding a whopping 75%, and took 16 shots. Seven of those shots were on target and six found the back of the net. This ruthlessness and efficiency in front of goal are key, and what competitors like the United States have arguably lacked so far.

For the first Arab nation to compete at the Women’s World Cup, Morocco have positives and negatives to take away. Defensively they struggled immensely. Set pieces in particular were consistently chaotic and clearances were not good enough. They gave the ball away in dangerous areas, gifting chances to the two-time champions.

On the attack, Morocco created some good chances with four of six shots on target of their own. Their midblock was relatively effective at turning the ball over higher up the pitch then leading into strong counterattacking opportunities when they connected. They even scored a goal that they thought would be Morocco’s first World Cup goal, but it was called back for offsides.

– Bella Munson

4 Brazil, 0 Panama

The Big Story: Brazil comes into the World Cup looking like real contenders in a dominant 4-0 win over Panama. 

The Big Moment: Ary Borges had already wowed everyone by scoring two goals to put Brazil up 2-0 at the half, but it was Brazil’s third goal (that included a Borges assist) that is deserving of tonight’s big moment. The team goal was quintessentially Brazilian, featuring not one but two back heel passes to set it up. It’s not even worth describing further. Just take a look. 

What it means: Brazil is a force to be reckoned with. This might not be the 6-0 scoreline that Germany had early in the evening, but Brazil was in complete control of this match from start to finish with very few exceptions — and Marta didn’t even start. This match was everything Brazil could have hoped for: they dominated, scored beautiful goals, and did it showing every bit of the flare that marks the Brazilian style. 

Individually, Ary Borges has made a World Cup debut for the ages. The Racing Louisville midfielder scored a hat trick and notched an assist in just 70 minutes of play. The raw emotion on display after her first goal was the kind of genuine moment that makes these tournaments so special. 

For Panama, there’s unfortunately not a huge amount to say. They had a couple of dangerous chances but they never amounted to much. A late corner in stoppage time seemed like it might give them a chance, but it was ultimately cleared easily by Brazil. This game was always going to be a long shot for Panama and the good news is that, even with the lopsided scoreline, they were never embarrassed by Brazil. The goals were pure tenacity and skill on the part of Brazil, not a defensive collapse on behalf of Panama. As World Cup debutants against one of the top teams in the world, this match could have gone much worse.

– Bekki Morgan

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