FIFA rejects criticism of Women's World Cup ticketing plan despite empty seats

Tanya Simon
June 12, 2019

The Netherlands opened their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand on Tuesday.

At an open training session, French children swarmed the USA players for autographs, calling out in thick accents the name of Alex Morgan, the clinical striker whose fearless style has made her one of the biggest names in the sport.

In the same group earlier, Sweden scored two late goals to beat Chile 2-0 after a long hold-up in their match in Rennes because of a violent storm which led to conditions deteriorating.

It was the most goals ever scored in a single Women's World Cup game, and Alex Morgan, with five goals, tied the record for the most by one player in a single match.

For the USWNT, the time to look ahead and focus on issues outside of Tuesday's game, or outside the soccer field entirely, has ended.

The U.S. team is going into the game as the heavy favorites.

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Substitute Madelen Janogy added a fine individual effort during stoppage time to wrap up victory. That's a big result against a Chile team that prioritized defense but couldn't hold on in the final moments.

New Zealand weathered the Dutch storm for 91 minutes and looked nearly certain to lock up a valuable point before Jill Roord came off the bench to head home the victor in the 92nd minute. The reigning Euro 2017 champs squeaked by in World Cup qualifying, and it really dampened expectations from the outside.

They are therefore comfortable favourites against first Group F opponents Thailand. The games are set to begin at noon and 3 p.m. ET respectively. The reigning champs are ready to roll and should be confident in winning this one with little trouble.

The USWNT has played Thailand once before, winning 9-0 in a 2016 friendly.

Elsewhere, Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg revealed that star player Dzsenifer Marozsan may miss the rest of the World Cup after being ruled out of Wednesday's crucial Group B clash with Spain due to a broken toe. Morgan will be one of the players front and center as the US seeks to bring home another World Cup win and maintain her status as one of the top forwards in the world.

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