Photo Credit: Joe Allison – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Argentina staged an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to take a point from their clash with South Africa in Dunedin, keeping both team’s hopes alive going into their final group stage match.

Both sides lost their opening matches and knew this tie was vital for their aspirations of staying in the tournament past the first round. South Africa had conceded a late goal in defeat to Sweden, whilst Argentina had gone down 1-0 to Italy in their opening match.

South Africa took the lead after half an hour – due reward for their enterprising play – as Linda Motlhalo side-footed home. Initially appearing to be in an offside position, a VAR check confirmed the No.10 was level with the last defender and the goal stood.

A second arrived with a little under 25 minutes remaining when Thembi Kgatlana smashed into the roof of the net from close range to give South Africa what appeared to be a seemingly insurmountable lead.

Within 15 minutes however, the scores were level. A spectacular effort from outside the box from Sophia Braun gave the South Americans hope before Romina Nunez expertly glanced her header across ‘keeper Kaylin Swart and into the far corner.

A winner for either team failed to materialise, leaving both on one point heading into the final round of matches next week.

OFC were represented in the selection of officials for the first time in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™. Anna-Marie Keighley of New Zealand took charge as referee, with fellow Kiwi Sarah Jones and Samoa’s Maria Salamasina as her assistants.

Argentina: 2 (Sophia BRAUN 74′, Romina NUNEZ 79′)
South Africa: 2 (Linda MOTLHALO 30′, Thembi KGATLANA 66′)

HT: 0-1

England have one foot in the Round of 16 following a 1-0 victory over Denmark at the Sydney Football Stadium, thanks to an early goal from Lauren James.

Making her first start of the tournament, the attacker scored a sublime side-footed effort from just outside the area in the 6th minute, curled expertly past the outstretched grasp of Danish ‘keeper Lene Christensen.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 28: Alex Greenwood and Millie Bright of England celebrate the team’s first goal scored by Lauren James (not pictured) during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between England and Denmark at Sydney Football Stadium on July 28, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Elsa – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Following the blistering start, the remainder of the match settled into a more measured and structured affair, with chances at a premium at both ends. Denmark came agonisingly close to an equaliser with just minutes remaining when Amalie Vangsgaard – the hero against China – whipped a cross in that evaded everyone and struck the far post with England ‘keeper Mary Earps stranded.

England can secure their place in the next round later this evening if China fail to beat Haiti, whilst Denmark will likely need a win in their final match against Haiti to move on.

England: 1 (Lauren JAMES 6′)
Denmark: 0

HT: 1-0

China recorded their first victory of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™, with a 1-0 win over Haiti, despite playing the majority of the match with ten players.

Knowing that a win was needed to maintain their chances of advancing to the Round of 16, China’s task was made all the more difficult when Zhang Rui was given her marching orders for a high tackle on Haiti’s Sherly Jeudy after just 29 minutes – the offence upgraded from yellow to red following a VAR consultation.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 28: Wang Shuang (C) of China PR celebrates with teammates after scoring her team’s first goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between China and Haiti at Hindmarsh Stadium on July 28, 2023 in Adelaide / Tarntanya, Australia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Despite the numerical disadvantage, China plugged away and found their reward from the penalty spot. Linyan Zhang was upended in the box and despite the offside flag initially being raised, a VAR check confirmed the play was legitimate and referee Marta Huerta de Aza pointed to the spot.

Substitute Wang Shuang took on penalty duties and calmly tucked her effort away to the right of goalkeeper Kerly Theus, to give China a precious 1-0 lead as the minutes ticked away.

With the three points secured, China will now advance to the next round if they defeat England next week in their final group match. Despite defeat, Haiti’s hopes are still alive but victory over Denmark in their final match is now a must to have any chance.

China: 1 (WANG Shuang PEN 74′)
Haiti: 0

HT: 0-0