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Women’s World Cup: Five things we have learned from group stages


After 36 games, it’s gone from 24 to 16 nations, and now we’re heading for the knockout matches at the Women’s World Cup in France.

But what have we learned from the group stages?

BBC Sport looks at the main talking points from the first two weeks of action.

Goalkeepers are making their mark

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Christiane Endler produces another ‘outstanding’ save

Should the goals be made smaller for shorter keepers? Do coaching methods need to change? Debates around the standard of goalkeeping in women’s football still exist, but brilliant performances have got people talking about female keepers for different reasons.

Christiane Endler was named player of the match for Chile against holders USA, while Argentina’s Vanina Correa drew high praise from England boss Phil Neville after making several stops in the Lionesses’ 1-0 win in Group D.

When England’s Karen Bardsley was asked about the quality of keeping at this tournament, she replied: “It’s like everyone has been bagging on us for so long that we’re just like ‘we will show you’.”


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Dramatic scenes as VAR penalty retake sends Scots home

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Relief for Wendie Renard as she scores retaken VAR penalty to beat Nigeria

It took just 28 minutes of action at the World Cup for the video assistant referee (VAR) to kick in but Griedge Mbock Bathy’s disallowed goal for France, after a marginal offside call against South Korea, was just the start of it.

Goalkeepers off their line and retaken penalties have become a recurring theme, with the most dramatic coming late on Wednesday when Florencia Bonsegundo’s second attempt was converted and earned Argentina a 3-3 draw against Scotland, which knocked out Shelley Kerr’s side.

Have the decisions all been correct as per the new laws? Yes. Will we continue to debate whether VAR is good or bad for football? Also yes.

One goal can mean so much

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Women’s World Cup 2019: Teenager Giulia Gwinn gives Germany a 1-0 lead against China

The USA’s record 13-0 demolition of Thailand in their opening group match was both brilliant and devastating to watch all at the same time.

The Thai players picked themselves up to face Sweden, and the emotion took over when Kanjana Sung-Ngoen scored their only goal of the tournament.

Players celebrated like they’d won the whole thing, while the coaching staff were in floods of tears. The same thing happened for Jamaica, when Havana Solaun scored their first World Cup goal against Australia. Both went out in the group stage, but both will go away with unforgettable memories.

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Women’s World Cup 2019: Watch as world champions USA demolish Thailand 13-0

You have to dance into the stadium

Cameroon started it as they exited the team bus to music, Nigeria took it to the next level with a formation routine, and then all of a sudden everyone is making an entrance on match day as they enter the stadium.

But perhaps the best performance award goes to Canada, who did a full-blown routine to Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like a Woman on the team bus.

  • Watch highlights on BBC Football Instagram.

France v USA could be on the horizon

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Highlights: Sweden 0-2 USA

The top four teams in the world – France, USA, England and Germany – all came through the group stages with three wins from three games, along with Euro 2017 champions the Netherlands.

England will face Cameroon, who finished as one of the best third-place teams, in the next round. In the same side of the draw, there could be an incredibly tasty quarter-final between hosts France and defending champions USA. Watch this space…

Plus, some of the most memorable moments so far…

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‘What was she thinking?’ – Rennard scores calamitous own goal

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Taylor caps a sweeping team move as England finally break the deadlock

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Women’s World Cup 2019: Australia turn it around to win 3-2 against Brazil

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Kim Do-yeon own goal gives Nigeria lead after VAR check

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Women’s World Cup 2019: Lieke Martens or Johan Cruyff? Whose turn is better?

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Sinclair thunders in a goal at the back post to level the score for Canada

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions.Find out more here.

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