With the ninth instalment of the Women’s World Cup now onto its second round of matches, Royal Blue Mersey takes a look at how the Everton women stars have fared for their respective nations in the opening round of matches.
In total, eight Blues are on the World stage and looking to make their mark in the competition that is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
So what was the fate of the eight? Let’s find out:
Australia 1-0 Republic of Ireland
It was a battle of the Blues in this Group B opener as a hard-fought encounter went the way of the Matildas thanks to a Steph Catley penalty on 52 minutes.
Courtney Brosnan was part of a resilient Girls in Green side who frustrated their hosts but ultimately came up short in the curtain raiser.
Though Clare Wheeler will have been delighted to see her side triumph, she will certainly be hoping for some game time wheninjury-struck Australia take on Nigeria on Thursday, while the Republic of Ireland require a result against Canada on Wednesday if they are to avoid an exit at the group stages.
Denmark 1 - 0 China
Much like Australia, Denmark faced a similar challenge to break down their opponents as susbstitute Amalie Vangsgaard’s late winner ensured the Danes returned to the World Cup following a 16-year absence, with a win.
Everton trio Karen Holmgaard, Katrine Veje and Nicoline Sorensen all started, with the latter replaced by Rikke Madsen on 72 minutes.
Next up in Group D for Lars Søndergaard’s side is a showdown with European Champions England, but with Haiti being the final encounter in the group stage, the Danes will be confident of progression.
Netherlands 1 - 0 Portugal
Stefanie van der Gragt’s powerful header early in the first half was enough to ensure an opening day win for the Dutch.
The goal was initially ruled out by match official Kateryna Monzul, before the video assistant referee encouraged her to review the decision.
Everton’s Katja Snoeijs was a late substitution for Lineth Beerensteyn, but by then it was the Portuguese who were threatening an equaliser, which never materialised.
Reigning World Champions USA are the next opponents for the Netherlands on Thursday, with both sides looking favourites to progress through Group E.
Sweden 2 - 1 South Africa
Nathalie Bjorn completed a full 90 minutes as her Swedish side completed a dramatic comeback to claim an opening win in Group G.
Hanna Bennison came off the bench in the second half, as Hildah Magaia’s 48th minute strike gave the 2022 African Cup of Nations’ winners the lead.
Frida Rolfo’s deflected effort restored parity 17 minutes later, before Amanda Ilestedt completed a dramatic comeback with a header in the last minute of normal time to send her teammates, and the Scandavian nation, into raptures.
With Italy and Argentina’s fixture ending goalless, Sweden can guarantee qualification if they beat Milena Bertolini’s side on Saturday.