Canada got a much-needed win Wednesday morning to eliminate Ireland from the Women’s World Cup.
Katie McCabe put Ireland up 1-0 in the fourth minute on an Olimpico that had to be seen to be believed.
But an own goal by Megan Connolly tied the game late in added time in the first half. Eight minutes into the second half, Canada’s Adriana Leon scored the game-winner in the 2-1 victory.
Canadian legend Christine Sinclair started the game on the bench and came on at halftime. Canada looked much more dangerous in the second half with Sinclair on the field and had multiple counter-attack chances for a third goal in the second half as Ireland threw all it had forward in the hopes of getting an equalizer.
The win gives Canada four points in Group B after a draw with Nigeria and means the Canadians can advance to the knockout rounds with a result against Australia in the final group stage game. Australia plays Nigeria early Thursday morning in the United States.
Ireland, meanwhile, is relegated to the position of spoiler for its game against Nigeria. No matter what happens against Australia, Nigeria will have at least a slim chance of advancing to the knockout rounds with a win over Ireland.
Japan 2, Costa Rica 0
Japan and Spain became the first two teams to advance to the knockout rounds of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Japan took down Costa Rica, 2-0, overnight thanks to goals by Hikaru Naomoto and Alba Fujino within three minutes of each other.
Naomoto scored in the 25th minute and then Fujino followed that up with a goal in the 27th minute.
Japan peppered the Costa Rica goal with 24 total shots and 12 on target. Costa Rica keeper Daniela Solera made 10 saves.
Costa Rica never really had a chance to get back into the game knowing that it needed a win to keep its advancement hopes alive. Spain beat Costa Rica to start the tournament, and Costa Rica needed a result that it ultimately didn’t get.
Spain blew out Zambia, 5-0, immediately after Japan’s win to set up a winner-take-all game between the two teams on Monday.
The loss is Zambia’s second 5-0 defeat of the tournament.
Teresa Abelleira opened the scoring in the ninth minute and her goal was followed by Jennifer Hermoso’s first goal in the 13th minute to give Spain a quick 2-0 lead.
The lead stretched to three when Alba Redondo scored the first of her two goals in the 69th minute and Hermoso added her second a minute later.
Spain had the ball for 75% of the game and had 22 total shots.
Spain currently sits atop group C with a +8 goal differential thanks to a 3-0 win over Costa Rica to start the tournament. Japan’s goal differential is at +7.
Zambia will play Costa Rica in its final game of the tournament. The loss to Spain came after the team’s pre-match news conference with coach Bruce Mwape was ended early because of numerous questions surrounding a sexual abuse investigation within women’s soccer in the country.
Mwape is reportedly among those who are being investigated. He has been the team’s coach since 2018.