Spain meets Costa Rica, the Philippines debuts against Switzerland on TSN
While a majority of interest in this country will focused on Canada's opening match against Nigeria, there are two more intriguing matches on offer as the 2023 Women's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia is in full swing on TSN.
A plucky Philippines side makes its World Cup bow from Dunedin against Switzerland as Group A concludes its first matchday at the 2023 Women's World Cup.
You can catch the Philippines vs. Switzerland in Group A action from the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Dunedin with coverage getting underway at 12:45am et/9:45pm am on TSN1/4/5, streaming on the TSN App and on TSN.ca.
Group A got underway overnight on Thursday when hosts New Zealand stunned group favourites Norway with a 1-0 win on a goal from Hannah Wilkinson.
Of the 23 women on the Philippines' roster, 18 of them are American-born. Another, midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki, is from Coquitlam, BC and Sawicki previously represented Canada at youth levels.
“I don’t really care where they’re born,” Philippines manager Alen Stajcic, he himself Australian, said. “If they have Philippines in their heart and in their blood, and they’re good at football, then they’re eligible for our team. They all play for their flag, they all play for their country, they all play for the people in the Philippines, wherever they reside.”
Stajcic will hope that the moment won't get too big for his players as they play in their first match against what should be tough opposition in the Swiss, who make their return to the World Cup after missing out in 2019.
Led by Arsenal star Lia Walti and featuring Barcelona's fearsome attacking talent Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Switzerland has the talent to emerge from the group stage, but New Zealand's surprise victory in their opener has clearly altered the equation. A potential three points against this Philippines side has gone from what would be a nice start to close to a necessity.
For the second time in three Women's World Cups, Spain and Costa Rica will open their tournaments against one another.
You can catch Spain vs. Costa Rica in Group C action from the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Wellington with coverage getting underway at 3:15am et/12:15 am on TSN1/4/5, streaming on the TSN App and on TSN.ca.
At the 2015 World Cup in Canada, Spain and Costa Rica were drawn together in Group E and met at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in their first match. In a tough group that also included Brazil and South Korea, both teams knew that points would come at a premium. For La Roja, the match would signal just how the rest of a very disappointing maiden voyage at a World Cup would go. The game would start well for Spain, though.
In the 13th and from a corner, Vicky Losada collected a pass near the penalty spot from Sonia Bermudez. Controlling the ball, she spun and fired. Her low drive was too powerful for Dinnia Diaz and Spain were ahead 1-0.
Las Ticas would hit back almost immediately. From the restart, Carolina Venegas beautifully chested down a pass to the oncoming Lixy Rodriguez. Rodriguez ran at goal before crossing to the trailing Raquel Rodriguez, who tapped home to make it 1-1 in the 14th.
As it turns out, that would be all the scoring the game would see. The match would finish at 1-1 and that lone point would be Spain's only one of the tournament as they finished last in the group. Costa Rica would go on to earn a 2-2 draw with South Korea, but they, too, would crash out at the group stage.
This time around, a star-studded Spain team that includes two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, Aitana Bonmati and Ona Batlle expect to make noise in a group that also includes Japan and Zambia. They head into the tournament as winners of six straight.
For Las Ticas, the job to advance to knockouts will be a big one and getting a point from La Roja just as they did eight years ago would go a long way to getting off on the right foot.