PARIS — Argentina held former champion Japan to a 0-0 draw Monday to earn its first ever point in the Women’s World Cup.
Argentina lost its previous six World Cup matches in 2003 and 2007, and missed the 2011 and 2015 tournaments. Argentina had been outscored 33-2 in the six previous World Cup matches prior to Monday’s opener against Japan.
“For women’s football in Argentina, it is great that we are starting to flourish,” Argentina coach Carlos Borrello said. “We are starting on our way and just starting to face up to these powerful forces in football.”
Argentina offered little threat but was compact and tough for 2011 champion Japan to break down.
“I congratulated my players. The fact they understand your game plan and are so disciplined on the pitch is very satisfying to see,” Borrello said. “We couldn’t play any other way against this team. We had to stay back and be very, very organized and then come out with some counterattacks. It was very satisfying to earn a point.”
Japan took until the 50th minute to test goalkeeper Vanina Correa, who stopped forward Kumi Yokoyama’s low shot from about 35 meters out. Minutes later, Japan midfielder Yui Hasegawa botched a good chance, swiping left of the goal from close range after a cross from the right.
Photo: Thibault Camus / Associated Press
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Correa then palmed away a low cross from the right in the last minute and was hugged by her teammates at the final whistle.
“This point is really, really important for us. We will able to show what Argentina represents as a team,” midfielder and captain Estefania Banini said. “I think we can do this, we can compensate and make up for the gap that does exist. We can make up for it with our attitude.”
Japan, runner-up in 2015, was lackluster.
Japan has just one win in seven matches this year. The national team has lost twice with four draws, including Monday against Argentina.
It was a subdued evening at Parc des Princes, with the 48,000-capacity stadium just more than half full — a far cry from the raucous atmosphere during host France’s 4-0 win against South Korea on Friday night.
Canada 1, Cameroon 0: Kadeisha Buchanan scored the lone goal at the end of the first half and the Canadians prevailed in Montpellier, France.
Buchanan charged into the box on a corner kick and her header bounced into the goal. But all eyes were on her teammate Christine Sinclair, who is four goals from becoming the sport’s all-time international top scorer.
Sinclair sits at 181 goals, trailing only former U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who had 184 goals in international competition to set the record among men and women.
The Canadian captain’s free kick was blocked and cleared away in the 51st minute, and she had another good chance in the closing minutes. She had scored in the opening game of each of her previous four World Cup appearances.
Cameroon was a surprise at the 2015 World Cup, advancing from the group stage before falling to China in the round of 16.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Argentina-ties-Japan-Canada-prevails-13967148.php.