2019-06-11

The one player you need to know from every country competing in the 2019 Women's World Cup


Day 4 of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France featured a two-game slate with two potential contenders opening their campaigns against slightly inferior opponents. When the dust settled, neither team looked particularly sharp as only one goal was scored on the day. Japan, winners of the 2011 Women's World Cup, were held scoreless against an upstart Argentina team that spent over two years (from June 2015 to October 2017) without playing an official match. Canada used a Kadeisha Buchanan header to squeak by Cameroon in the late game.

Here's what you need to know from Monday's World Cup games:
Women's World Cup scores for Monday, June 10

• Argentina 0, Japan 0
• Canada 1 Cameroon 0
Canada dominates game, barely gets by on score

Canada produced more than enough chances to win comfortably against Cameroon, but only found the back of the net once. The No. 5 team in FIFA's rankings had 74 percent of the ball, nearly three times more passes, 12 more shots and were simply better on the night. The Canadians moved the ball around at will but only put 25 percent of their 16 shots went on frame. Canada's struggles almost felt similar to what Japan experienced in the early game against Argentina (more on that below), but the only difference was that they found the breakthrough 45 minutes in via the head of Kadeisha Buchanan.

Better to have struggled to score in this game than more important ones down the road. The important thing is getting the three points and setting themselves up well to potentially win the group. They knocked on the door plenty and just scored once, but the chances in the final third are an encouraging sign for a team that didn't score in its final World Cup tune-up.
Argentina makes history while Japan shows inexperience

Argentina's surprising scoreless draw against mighty Japan saw the South American nation earn its first ever point at a Women's World Cup, and they celebrated it as if it were a victory. For a team that went more than two years (from June 2015 to October 2017) between playing an official competitive match, Monday was a monumental day. Argentina had just one shot on goal but buckled down all game long, conceding 72 percent of the possession and completing nearly 400 (!) less passes. Japan controlled the ball in Argentina's half for a great deal, yet it could not break down the defense. Aldana Cometti and Agustina Barroso were quick to react at the back, and while it felt like the Japanese would eventually break things open, they never got a golden chance in the second half.

Japan won the tournament in 2011 and finished in second in 2015, and the early impression this time around is that maybe it doesn't have what it takes to make the final due to the turnover on the roster. Japan entered the 2015 tourney with the second-oldest roster, and this time around it has the second-youngest roster among all 24 teams, with 14 players aged 23 or younger. The lack of veteran leadership showed. They were solid on the ball in the middle of the park, but when it came to finding teammates in space to enter the box, they were way off.

Perhaps the expectations were a bit too high for this Japan team. After leaving a sour opening impression in France, they'll look to bounce back against Scotland, where a loss would put them on the brink of elimination. Meanwhile, Argentina knows that if it can win one of its last two games, it will have a decent chance of making the round of 16. Argentina has to be thrilled with what it already accomplished -- after losing its first World Cup opener 6-0 to Japan in 2003 and then 11-0 to Germany in 2007, this result is Argentina's biggest result in its young history.
Brazil - Marta Vieira da Silva
Marta of Orlando Pride drives down the field during the match against the Seattle Reign FC at Memorial Stadium. Alika Jenner / Getty Images

Position: Forward.

International Appearances: 144 (105 goals).

More commonly known as Marta, Brazil's star enters her fifth World Cup. She is a six-time FIFA World Player of the Year and has played in four Olympics for Brazil, but has yet to win her first major trophy with the team.

At 33 years old, she has the most World Cup goals with 15 and has scored 110 goals in 133 matches for Brazil.

Speculation as to whether she will retire has grown as the games have gotten closer, but she insists the future isn't something she wants to focus on right now.

"You never know ... I want to make the most of this moment without thinking too much about the future," Marta told the Inquirer. "I want to concentrate on what I have right now, and this opportunity that I have yet again. I want to complete my story in soccer."

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