Switzerland spoil Philippines’ dreams of making a winning World Cup debut


Switzerland made a winning start to their Women’s World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over debutants Philippines at Dunedin Stadium on Friday, thanks to Ramona Bachmann’s first-half penalty and a close-range effort from Seraina Piubel.

Inka Grings’ side were awarded a penalty by VAR after midfielder Coumba Sow was caught by a stray boot from Jessika Cowart in the box late in the first half, with forward Bachmann coolly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.

“I wasn’t that nervous, but I knew it was an important moment,” Bachmann told reporters.

“I knew that it would be important for our team to get to half-time with a 1-0 so I was really focused and I obviously tried to score, but I feel quite confident in shooting penalties. So I was really calm.”

Meanwhile, Olympic champions Canada were denied an opening win in Melbourne as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Nigeria, after goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saved a penalty.

Nnadozie thwarted veteran Christine Sinclair’s try from the spot early in the second half, denying the Canadian from becoming the first player to score at six World Cups in either the women’s or men’s games.

The 40-year-old currently sits alongside Brazil’s Marta and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the joint record holder, having scored in five tournaments.

The Philippines, coached by former Matildas manager Alen Stajcic, made history as they became the first team from their country – male or female – to appear at the finals of a global soccer tournament.

And they were denied an early opener when midfielder Katrina Guillou’s strike was ruled out for offside.

Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Switzerland’s top scorer and most capped player, fired over from close range before Bachmann’s penalty put them ahead.

Switzerland dominated the second half and deservedly doubled their lead through midfielder Piubel, who smashed home in the 64th minute after McDaniel denied Crnogorcevic and Sow.

“If it’s a VAR decision – from my understanding – it’s supposed to be a clear and obvious error,” Stajcic said of the penalty. “I didn’t see the replay.

“There’s no doubt they are the better team, and they should be. I was really proud of the spirit that our team showed. I think we showed that we can be competitive.

“To come to this level and play against players from Europe, against a team like that is miraculous.”


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There were plenty of empty seats in the 30,000-capacity stadium on Friday despite FIFA giving away 20,000 free tickets for games in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin amid concerns about the slow pace of sales in New Zealand.

Switzerland top Group A on goal difference ahead of co-hosts New Zealand, who upset Norway 1-0 on Thursday.