Our event of the day concerns Group E at the Women’s World Cup as New Zealand take on the Netherlands at Stade Oceane in Le Havre. This will be both sides’ opening game of the competition and both will be eager to get off to the best possible start with a win today. Though this will be just their second World Cup appearance, the Netherlands will be the strong favourites heading into the tie, ranking currently as the eighth best nation in women’s football. In their first and only previous World Cup appearance, the Netherlands were eliminated in the round of 16 and they will have high hopes of progressing much further this time round. In qualifying, the Dutch looked commanding throughout and lost just one game against Norway who went on to top the group.
The Orange Lionesses will be hoping for a repeat of their successes in 2017 when they went all the way to lift the European Championship after a string of outstanding performances from their key players. Few are more crucial to the nation’s hopes than Barcelona winger Lieke Martens, who notched three times at Euro 2017 with one of those strikes coming in the final against Denmark. She will have aspirations of guiding her country to World Cup glory for the first time ever, but first they must overcome the stubborn test that World Cup regulars New Zealand will pose in their opening affair. The Football Ferns are making their fourth straight World Cup appearance and their fifth in total having breezed through qualifying once again, scoring 27 times and conceding none in their three qualifying group matches. However, the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, which is the tournament used to determine World Cup qualification in the Oceanian region, features far weaker teams than the ones competing in France this month so New Zealand will not be resting on their laurels and will be well aware that tougher tests lie in wait. Despite making four previous appearances at the sport’s most prestigious competition, the Football Ferns are yet to win a World Cup match in 12 attempts and their chances of winning a first this time round are far from favourable, with their group featuring two of the world’s top ten sides in Holland and Canada. Today should see a great game of World Cup football.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the 16th match of the Cricket World Cup, where Bangladesh will take on Sri Lanka. After rain disrupted play yesterday at the World Cup, fans will be hoping for clearer conditions at the Bristol County Ground. Both sides have shown mixed form so far in their opening matches, winning one match each. Nuwan Pradeep will be missing the match due to an injury on his finger but Bangladesh will still be expecting a big performance from the team. With Lasith Malinga in good shape and only four wickets away from fifty in Word Cups, Sri Lanka will provide a great contest. Elsewhere, the WNBA continues today as three matches take place up and down the country, with the showpiece being the Washington Mystics’ visit to the Connecticut Sun’s as the top two sides in the Eastern Conference go head to head at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Though the focus is heavily on the women’s game just now, there is plenty of men’s football to watch out for too as Euro 2020 qualification continues with Belgium’s clash against Scotland and France’s trip to Andorra. In the tennis, there are plenty of stars in action today at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart as Gaël Monfils faces Steve Johnson whilst Canadian Milos Raonic plays Alexei Popyrin. In another Women’s World Cup match, 39th ranked Chile take on one of the tournament favourites Sweden at the Stade de la Route de Lorient.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by New Zealand Football, Netherland Football
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