Last Saturday, June 6, 2015 was a great day in the history of women’s football, when the 7th FIFA World Cup for women got off to a colorful start at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium. The 10-minute opening ceremony had a theme of empowerment and unification of women, narrated through the eyes of a soccer playing little girl. The stadium was turned into a sea of red-and-white Canadian flags as some 56,000 spectators, who later watched their country take on china for the opening game of the World Cup. Canada’s Grammy-award winning international recording artist Sarah McLachlan rendered her popular number titled “In Your Shoes.” Among the guests on the big event was World Cup Event Ambassador Kara Lang, the youngest woman ever to be named in the Canada’s women’s team at the age of 15; Olympic and Paralympic medalist Chantal Petitclerc and five-time Olympic medalist Hayley Wickenheiser. For the first match of the tournament, stands were packed with people dressed in Team Canada colors and their joy was completed, when the home team helped by a Christine Sinclair penalty kick; emerged 1-0 victorious against China. On the opening day, an estimated 5.6 million viewers watched the first match on TV and social media sites.
It is nearly week since women’s top football action began in Canada. On the opening day, after Canada beat China, the next match at the same venue saw the Netherlands making a perfect debut in the FIFA Women’s World Cup debut with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand. On June 07, there were two matches with overwhelming results. In Sunday’s first match, Norway began their World Cup with a 4-0 win over debutants Thailand in Ottawa’s Lansdowne Stadium. After Trine Ronning scored in the 15th minute, Isabell Herlovsen scored twice in the first-half as Norway raced to a 3-0 lead at half-time while Ada Hegerberg made it 4-0 in the 68th minute. But the second match immediately afterwards at Ottawa saw a goal deluge as 2003 and 2007 champions Germany routed Ivory Coast 10-0. Celia Sasic began the scoring in the 3rd minute and then she doubled Germany’s lead by an open header in the 15th minute. Anja Mittag made it 3-0 in the 29th minute and Sasic completed her hat-trick 15 minutes before the break. Then Mittag scored again to make it 5-0 at halftime. The goals kept coming in the second half as well with Mittag scoring her third and Laudehr, Dabritz, Behringer and Popp scoring once each as Ivory Coast lost 0-10 in the end. Behringer’s goal was Germany’s 100th goal in Women’s World Cup but the Europeans fell short of their record 11-0 margin registered against Argentina in the 2007 China World Cup.
On June 08, 2015, there were four matches in two venues. At Winnipeg, Sweden drew with Nigeria 3-3 and USA defeated Australia 3-1. At the BC Place stadium Vancouver, Cameroon thrashed Ecuador 6-0 while defending champions Japan got past Switzerland 1-0 by a penalty kick in the 29th minute. France defeated England 1-0 at Moncton on June 09 and afterwards, Colombia drew with Mexico 1-1 at the same venue. On the same day at Montreal, Spain and Costa Rica were locked 1-1, while in the next match, Brazil registered a 2-0 victory over Korea. June 10 was a day of rest but there were four more matches on June 11, 2015 at Edmonton and Ottawa. Germany and Norway played each other at Ottawa for the second Group B match and ended 1-1 at fulltime. Germany raced to 1-0 lead in the 6th minute, when Anja Mittag tapped a weak rebound from Norway goalkeeper, who couldn’t properly control Dzsenifer Marozsan’s long range effort and ended up playing in the path of the German. But the Norwegian women fought hard and equalized in the 61st minute through Maren Mjelde’s superb free-kick from the edge of the penalty area. In the second match at Ottawa, Ivory Coast suffered their second loss when Thailand beat them 3-2 in a Group A match. In two other matches at Edmonton on June 11, China beat the Netherlands 1-0 and hosts Canada drew with New Zealand 0-0.