…Nigeria faces Australia on Thursday in Group B.
The Copper Queens of Zambia are out of the 2023 women’s world cup with a 5-0 slaughter from Spain just in the manner that Japan had wrecked the team making a disgraceful concession of 10 goals into the Zambian net without scoring at least a goal.
It was a day that the head of Africans were bowed in the women’s world cup as it became the fourth humiliating defeat. The highest was a 10-0 firing of the Ivory Coast ladies by the German Machines at the Canada games in 2015. Morocco collected 6-0 from same Germans at the present tournament while Japan and now Spain banged in 5 goals each into the Zambian net in one single tournament at the 2023 finals.
The Spain versus Zambia may have suspicious moments of intentional misdeeds by match officials but the scoreboard remains Spain 5 Zambia 0.
Teresa Abelleira opened got the curtain raiser from a Jennifer Hermoso pass to fire home the wonderful goal in the 9th minute.
Jennifer scored a brace in the 13th and 70th minute. She got a cross from Putellas to head home the second goal In the 13th minute and a controversial one when a rebound off the upright she fired home at 70th minute was seen to have been interfered with by two of her colleagues but VAR approved it after a wait in the 73rd minute.
Substitute Alba Redondo also got a controversial brace scoring the 3rd goal of the match from a Navarro assist in the 69th minute. Her second goal of the match and the actual 5th goal of the game that came 85th minute was also a Navarro cross which looked from the replay that Redondo was offside but was approved by VAR in the 86th minute
Zambia fought to register a goal in the match but were not clinical enough at goal scoring and the defenders did not learn how to mark opponents offside. The Debutante Zambia must have learnt their lessons.
Spain tops group C with 6 points like Japan but are more superior with their 3-0 win over Costa Rica when Japan was only able to beat same team 2-0. Costa Rica and Zambia are automatically out of the tournament as both teams have failed to earn at least a draw. Costa Rica is presently 3rd on the group’s table by goals difference having conceded 5 goals against the -10 of Zambia.
Zambia and Spain are meeting for the first time.
Spain had captured Costa Rica 3-0 in the group C opener on the 21st of July while Japan refused Zambia freedom by caging the team 5-0 on 22nd July. The second round matches of Group C will be on Wednesday 26th July when Spain will play Zambia and Japan will tackle Costa Rica. The last group matches will be played on Monday 31st July with Japan versus Spain and Costa Rica versus Zambia.
Zambia was plagued by negative developments before the tournament as first choice goalkeeper, Hazel Nali could not make the team due to an ankle injury and Coach Bruce Mwape called on teenager, Catherine Musonda who was red carded in the 90+7th minute against Japan after the second yellow card. Chitundu was sacrificed to have another teenage goalkeeper, Eunice Sakala who was saddled to save a penalty on assumption of duty. Part of the plague was dependable defender Grace Chanda who had to be rushed to hospital on Tuesday for an undisclosed ailment but FIFA granted a replacement for her.
Zambia is one of the eight teams making their debut alongside Haiti; Ireland; Morocco; Panama; Philippines; Portugal and Vietnam.
The Spanish side had beaten Slovenia 17-0 at Palamos on 20th March 1994 but the country suffered heavy defeat from Sweden 0-8 on home ground at Ganalia, Spain on 2nd June 1996. The Spanish women are making their 3rd appearance at the world cup finals. Their best performance was getting into the Round of 16 at Canada 2019 where USA beat the country 2-1 at Reins on 24th June.
Canada will slug it out with Ireland at 1300 hours at the NIB stadium in a group B second round match where Nigeria is to earn her first win.
On Thursday 27th July. USA will face a formidable side in Netherlands at Wellington Regional Stadium in group E at 0200 hours. Portugal in the same group will try the Vietnam War at 0830 hour at FMG Stadium, Waikato. Nigeria will battle for her first win against hosts Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in a group B match at 1100 hours.
Eniola Olatunji reporting for Patmos Media Line.