Just Women’s Sports is here with your daily World Cup Digest, breaking down all of the biggest storylines from each day of action in Australia and New Zealand.
Despite some surprising results and close calls over the first few days, Germany and Brazil looked every bit the favorites in their opening wins.
An Ary Borges hat trick for Brazil and Alexandra Popp brace for Germany headlined the final day of the first round of group-stage games.
Popp, Germany’s captain, opened the scoring for her team, then netted another just before the half. Klara Bühl and Lea Schüller also found the back of the next for Germany, which also benefited from two own goals by Morocco in a 6-0 win.
Germany managed the lopsided scoreline even without star player Lena Oberdorf, who missed the match with a thigh strain. The 21-year-old should be back soon, but her team proved it can do just fine without her. Germany next will face Colombia, which is gearing up to play its opening match against South Korea.
Meanwhile, Brazil put on a clinic against Panama, with Ary Borges netting a hat trick in her World Cup debut. She also added an assist on a goal by Bia Zaneratto. Brazil looked every bit a World Cup contender, with style and chemistry that had not yet been seen in this year’s tournament.
Brazil dominated possession, holding the ball for 73% of the match, and posted 10 shots on goal compared to two for Panama. The Seleçãos next will play France and undoubtedly will enter as the favorite.
While Borges later would net the first hat trick of this year’s World Cup, she gave up her first opportunity, instead passing the ball to teammate Bia Zaneratto. Still, the backheel flick from the Racing Louisville midfielder was a highlight in and of itself.
Borges later secured the hat trick with a nutmeg header, which went between the goalkeeper’s legs. What a coming out party for the 23-year-old at the World Cup.
That heel flick backwards from @_aryborges 🔥pic.twitter.com/AGeTNxR7lN— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) July 24, 2023
That heel flick backwards from @_aryborges 🔥pic.twitter.com/AGeTNxR7lN