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2023 Women's World Cup

The Big Story Day 6: Colombia defeat South Korea, Philippines earn first World Cup win, Norway continue struggle against Switzerland

Joe Serci / SPP

Day 6 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup saw Colombia play South Korea, New Zealand take on the Philippines, and Norway play Switzerland. 

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

Your bite-sized recap of Day 6 of the 2023 Women’s World Cup

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Colombia 2, South Korea 0

The Big Story:  Colombia scored two goals in nine minutes, starting with Catalina Usme’s penalty at the half hour mark, to earn a pivotal win over South Korea.

The Big Moment:  In the 10th minute of first-half stoppage time, South Korea had one of their best attacking moments of the day. Choe Yu Ri muscled her way by two Colombian defenders and sent a far-post cross to an open Lee Geum-min. Keeper Catalina Perez was cheated all the way to the strong side but read the play well and began hustling over to cover the far post. She arrived just in time to dive left and parry away Geum-min’s bouncing header to preserve a 2-0 lead ahead of halftime. A South Korean goal there would have altered the entire complexion of the second half.

What it means:  The win makes Colombia a heavy favorite to go through to the knockout stages for the second time in their history (2015, l. Rd 16 to United States). These two nations were tabbed to finish 2-3 behind Germany in Group H, a belief that was backed up a day earlier when Germany dismantled Morocco 6-0.

Korea were the better side in the opening 25 minutes but fell victim to some overly physical play in midfield. It burned them when, in the 28th minute, Kim Hye Ri fouled Mayra Ramírez coming through midfield. The free kick was not taken from an especially dangerous position but it led to some chaotic moments in the Korean penalty area and the ball eventually deflected off Shim Seo Yeon hand for a penalty. After a lengthy wait, Usme buried the 30th minute penalty and sprinted to the Colombian bench for a raucous celebration.

Nine minutes later, 18-year-old Linda Caicedo collected a second ball off a goal kick, dribbled around one defender, took another off her mark, and sent a probing shot toward goal from just outside the 18. Keeper Yoon Young Geul left her feet and attempted to either catch the ball or deflect it away, but her efforts were for naught as it skipped off her hand and nestled in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

South Korea changed shape after halftime by adding a 4th defender, but the tactical shift did little to return momentum in their favor. Colombia were rarely troubled over the second 45. The only highlight for Korea was the debut of Casey Phair, who at 16 became the youngest player ever to appear at a Women’s World Cup.

The result leaves Korea needing either a shock result against Germany in the final group match, or for Morocco to author an upset of Colombia. Colombia face Germany next but figure to be safely through if they can close with a win over Morocco.

– Dan Lauletta

Philippines 1, New Zealand 0

The Big Story: The Philippines enjoyed a historical night in Wellington as they faced the co-hosts New Zealand and got their first World Cup goal and win. 

The Big Moment: In the 24th minute, the Philippines’ Sara Eggesvik was able to send a cross in from right outside the box and find the head of Santa Clara born Sarina Bolden. Although the New Zealand goalkeeper got her hands on the ball, it wasn’t enough to stop the Philippines from getting the goal. 

What it means: The Philippines may have only had one shot on target in the first half, but they made it count. New Zealand had more big chances with eight shots coming out of their 70% possession, but struggled to find the frame and truly challenge the goalkeeper. Once they went down, it was clear that they were getting frustrated with the match and began taking it out on their opponents via overly physical play. 

The second half was more of the same as the Football Ferns’ desperation for a goal increased. In a devastating call for New Zealand, a Hannah Wilkinson to Olivia Chance goal was called offside and New Zealand continued to search for their equalizer. The Philippines goalkeeper started the time wasting a bit earlier than most, with 20 minutes left in regulation, and was met with continued boos from the home crowd.

Group A is anyone’s to win right now, so it will be imperative to both teams to get all three points in their final group stage match. Looking forward, New Zealand will need to reduce their extra touches and be more clinical in the final third. The Philippines will want to clean up their passing accuracy—which was only 51%—in order to reduce their number of turnovers.

– Taylor Vincent

Switzerland 0, Norway 0

The Big Story: Norway midfielders Ingrid Engen and Caroline Graham Hansen started the match on the bench this evening, and forward Ada Hegerberg was mysteriously scratched after national anthems. The match ended in a stalemate, putting Switzerland atop the group with four points. Norway is on the bottom with a single point and the only team in Group A without a win so far.

The Big Moment: Swiss goalkeeper Gaëlle Thalmann put in a player of the match performance to preserve her shutout and the tie. 

What it means: Switzerland looked the better team in the opening minutes of the match, but as Norway settled in they struggled to get into the final third until the end of the half. The Swiss ended the half with four shots, none on target. 

After Norway’s less than ideal World Cup opening loss against New Zealand, head coach Hege Riise decided to switch it up and left two of her star midfielders, Barcelona’s Engen and Graham Hansen on the bench. Right before kickoff, Olympique Lyonnais striker and Ballon D’or winner Ada Hegerberg left the huddle and headed into the locker room. The team announced that she removed herself from the lineup due to a ‘feeling in her groin.’ Norway finished the half with six shots, and Hegerberg’s replacement Sophie Román Haug had the sole shot on goal for either team in the first half.

The second half was a continuation of the slog. Considering Norway desperately need a win and were gifted the Philippines upsetting New Zealand, it didn’t seem like the team had much sense of urgency. On both sides of the ball, there was inconsistency with the decision making, whether that be passing into a closed lane or just waiting too long to make a decision. Either way, it ended with takeaways and loss of possession. Regardless of the outcomes of the final group A matches, if either team continues to play like this, they won’t make it much further than the group stage.

– Taylor Vincent

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