Matchday 2 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup has come and gone, with a pair of disappointing results coming for our Matildas and Football Ferns.
After both began the tournament with strong wins, the final matchday will now be crucial for both host nations after suffering defeat in recent days.
Here’s a look at the two fixtures from a City perspective…
New Zealand 0-1 Philippines
The Ferns faced off against a Phillippines outfit that was full of steam, hunting their first-ever FIFA WWC win after going down to Switzerland 2-0 on MD1.
Once again all of our three favourite Kiwi’s were named in the starting line-up; Katie Bowen and Rebekah Stott the central defensive partnership, while Hannah Wilkinson was named up top – fresh off her tournament opening goal.
New Zealand had all of the early momentum, but a goal against the run of play from Western Sydney Wanderers attacker, Sabrina Bolden, gave the Phillippines the lead in the 24th minute.
From there the Ferns continued to press, dominating the ball and much of the general play. Stott and Bowen put in strong shifts at the back and offered the opposition attack little, just three further shots coming in the 90 minutes.
Up the other end of the pitch, Wilkinson came close to once again being the difference-making on a number of occasions, going agonisingly close to equalising from a pair of second half headers.
A crucial moment seemed to come in the 68th minute when the City striker beat her defender with a lovely turn, before playing the perfect cross into the box for Jacqueline Hand to head home.
It wasn’t to be though, with VAR intervening and showing Wilkinson to be offside in the build-up by the slightest of margins.
Despite throwing just about everything but the kitchen sink at the Philippines in the dying stages, an equaliser couldn’t be found and the contest would end in defeat.
Australia 2-3 Nigeria
We saw an additional former City star slot into the line-up for the Matildas second Group Stage fixture, with Emily van Egmond joining Ellie Carpenter, Alanna Kennedy and skipper Steph Catley.
It appeared to be an inspired addition, the former City Championship winner slotting home the opener in first half injury time with a classy finish into the bottom corner after a well-timed run.
The lead would be short-lived though, with Nigeria hitting back minutes later – just moments before the half time whistle would sound.
Carpenter would be amongst the Matildas best with a number of trademark runs bombing forward the highlight, although two Nigeria goals in six minutes turned the contest on its head.
Now trailing 3-1, Alex Chidiac – who made 20 City appearances across two stints with the club – was eventually introduced in the 85th minute and looked one of the most dangerous players on the pitch.
It would be another former City player to pull one back though, Kennedy rising high from a corner to make it 3-2 in the 10th minute of stoppage time.
Carpenter did force the keeper into a save in the moments after the re-start but ultimately, it was a case of too little too late with the Nigerians taking the crucial three points.
Following these MD2 results, both nations are now in need of a win in their final Group Stage fixtures to secure their spot in their knockout stages.
A draw potentially could be good enough, but that will depend on the results of the other fixture in the groups.
Switzerland v New Zealand
Sunday July 30, 5:00pm KO (AEST)
Live on Optus Sport
Canada v Australia
Monday July 31, 8:00pm KO
Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Live on Channel Seven & Optus Sport