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2023 Women's World Cup

The Big Story Day 11: Colombia shocks Germany, Morocco gets first World Cup win, Norway and Switzerland advance

New Zealand eliminated, becomes first host nation to fail to get out of group stage

Richard Callis / SPP

Day 11 of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup opened with Morocco defeating Korea Republic, followed by Norway and Switzerland advancing out of Group A. The big result of the day, however, was Colombia’s shocking victory over Germany.

Couldn’t watch and need to know what the big story is? This is what happened on the eleventh day of the World Cup.

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Your bite-sized recap of Day 11 of the 2023 Women’s World Cup

South Korea 0, Morocco 1

The Big Story: This match was historical in many ways for Morocco. The debutants scored their first ever goal in a World Cup to earn their first ever World Cup win, becoming the first Arab nation to win a Women’s World Cup match. And in a moment bigger than the sport, Morocco’s Nouhaila Benzina became the first player to wear a hijab in a World Cup match.

The Big Moment: Ranked 72nd in the World by FIFA, Morocco pulled off a remarkable upset, defeating the 17th ranked Korea Republic with an early sixth minute goal. They took advantage of their early pressure when Salma Amani’s cross was deftly headed into the side-netting by the diving Ibtissam Jraidi for their nation’s first-ever goal at the global finals.

What it means: This second loss in a row, combined with Colombia’s victory over Germany, means South Korea are on the verge of being eliminated (barring a huge victory over Germany in the final group match). It’s a disappointing result for the team that held 63% possession and had 16 shots on Sunday. They key stat however is that not a single shot was on target.

Korea Republic’s head coach Colin Bell told media after the match that “the reality is we were not good enough in both games… The players are much better than they’ve shown in both matches and it really is almost unbelievable that we’ve performed like we have.”

The second-half was almost entirely controlled by the eventual losers as they desperately tried to find an equalizer. Casey Phair, the 16-year-old phenom, had their best chance of the half and showed good composure to get her shot off near the penalty spot but her effort went just wide. Now Bell’s team have to hope for some help from Colombia.

Morocco, on the other hand, will be pleased with holding their opponents without a shot on target and preserving the shutout. If there is one thing for them to work on it is taking advantage of their several counterattack opportunities that broke down in the vital moments.

– Bella Munson

Switzerland 0, New Zealand 0

The Big Story: Switzerland advances to the knockout stage while New Zealand becomes the first host nation to be eliminated in the group stage of a Women’s World Cup.

The Big Moment: Up until the final whistle blew the Football Ferns were pushing for a goal to win them the game and keep their tournament going, but alas it was too little too late and their World Cup came to an end. Captain Ali Riley spoke after the match about how proud she is of her team and the inspiration they hope they’ve brought to people throughout the nation.

What it means: Switzerland only had to avoid a loss to advance out of Group A and they did just that. They offered very little offensively but they played sound defensively, playing conservatively and making themselves difficult to break down. They only took three shots total but they didn’t need to score as long as the Football Ferns didn’t score.

As first-place finishers Switzerland will take on either Japan or Spain, whichever finishes second, in the Round of 16. Their tight defense should serve them well against either team, as both love to move their opposition around with their passing, but they may need to actually create some offense to advance any further.

Buoyed by a strong home crowd, New Zealand played confident early on, putting their opponents under pressure and being unlucky not to score in those first 30 minutes. Their best chance of the game came in the 24th minute when Jacqui Hand’s effort hit the post.

It is a disappointing result for the co-hosts who, for the most part, put in a strong performance. They held strong defensively to preserve the clean sheet and had 12 shots with three on target. But they needed to win and unfortunately couldn’t find the back of the net.

– Bella Munson

Norway 6, Philippines 0 

The Big Story: The Philippines’ Cinderella story came to an end in Auckland with a dominant Norway victory Sunday night. Norway finally found their groove and scored six goals, clinching their spot in the knockout round regardless of the outcome of the other Group A match, ultimately finishing second.

The Big Moment: Norway scored their first goal of this World Cup on an incredible volley by Sophie Román Haug, who would go on to complete a hat trick on the night.

What it means: Norway had struggled coming into their final group match, the European side needed a two goal or more win to ensure they move onto the knockout round. Debutant Philippines could advance with a win while a tie would mean they needed a New Zealand loss. 

Norway’s energy from the start of the match felt very different than their previous matches, controlling possession and really building comprehensive attacks through the midfield into the final third. With star Ada Hegerberg still out, Sophie Román Haug—who got the nod after Hegerberg’s late scratch last match—fully stepped into the role and scored a hat trick for Norway. 

Norway didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half, continuing to add to their goal tally. The match went from bad to worse when in the 68th minute Philippines attacker Sofia Harrison received a red card for a dangerous challenge on Thea Bjelde and they had to finish the match with 10.

For the Philippines, the fact that they held Norway scoreless from the 53rd minute until late in stoppage–during the majority of which they were a person down–was a good adjustment. Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel had six saves on the night, keeping the scoreline from being any worse. 

This Philippines team will still be remembered for scoring the nation’s first-ever World Cup goal and earning its first-ever victory in their debut World Cup.

The Grasshoppers truly played their best football of the tournament so far in their final group stage match. This was crucial because their knockout round matchup will be either Japan or Spain, both of whom have looked very dangerous the entirety of the group play.

– Taylor Vincent

Germany 1, Colombia 2

The Big Story: In what may be one of the most important upsets of the tournament, Colombia topped Germany 2-1 and handed the Germans their first group stage loss in 20 games — their first since a 3-2 loss against Sweden in 1995

The Big Moment: Each goal was a huge moment to the point that it was almost hard to pick between them. Linda Caicedo’s gorgeous opening goal to put Colombia on top was a stunner. The penalty that Alexandra Popp converted in the 89th minute seemed to be the decider of the match. But Maneula Vanegas’ game winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time has to be the biggest moment. In front of a rapturous crowd that seemed entirely in Colombia’s favor, Vanegas’s powerful header was unstoppable and sent the crowd, and her teammates, into a frenzy that will likely be one of the highlights of the World Cup. Her tears as her teammates embraced her and the gravity of the goal sunk in show just how much this meant to her team and her country.

What it means: What a win for Colombia. This match has echoes of their stunning 2015 group stage win over France, but feels even bigger. Germany had just demolished Morocco 6-0 and the No. 2 team in the world seemed poised to take complete control of Group H with another win. Instead, the Colombians played aggressively and with a confidence that Germany could not overcome. 

Colombia won what seemed like the majority of 1v1 matchups and kept Germany off kilter and unable to put together any quality chances. They limited the European powerhouse to a stunning two shots on goal with one coming in each half. In the second half, the German’s only shot on target was from their penalty. 

For Germany, this is a dire result. Even if the scoreline isn’t that lopsided, the fact that they could barely muster a competent offense against Colombia is at best a humbling experience that will ground them after their high-flying win against Morocco. After Colombia came out on the front foot, Germany seemed far too hesitant to commit to any real offensive barrage and, as a result, stayed mostly toothless despite holding the vast majority of possession. Pressure and compact defending snuffed out much of Germany’s momentum and left them visibly frustrated which only weakened them further.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a better result for Colombia. Although ranked just outside the top 25 teams, they have never been a pushover. Teenaged phenom Caicedo has been a recent bright spot for the South American team and this match only cements her superstar status on the world stage. The Colombians went into this match with a clear gameplan on how to hold off Germany and it paid off massively. As a result of this match, they are now at the top of Group H and in complete control of their World Cup destiny. Even better, they have the bragging rights of being the first South American team to defeat the European giants and the first team to hand Germany a group stage loss in nearly 30 years.

– Bekki Morgan

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