Power Moments: What We Learned from the 2nd Set of Women's World Cup Matches

Richard LavertyContributor IJune 17, 2019

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Morgan Brian and Carli Lloyd of the USA celebrate Carli's goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Chile at Parc des Princes on June 16, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)
Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images

With some teams already confirmed for the last 16 of the 2019 Women's World Cup and every game now making or breaking teams' progress in France, it's time to review what we've learned from the tournament so far.

     

1. USA prove they have the depth to go all the way

Some raised their eyebrows when Jill Ellis made seven changes for the USA's second match of the World Cup against Chile on Sunday afternoon.

The likes of Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Co. were rested after their 13-0 win against Thailand, and in came the likes of Carli Lloyd, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn.

USA coasted into a 3-0 lead at the break, with two coming from Lloyd, who broke the record for goals scored in consecutive World Cup games by taking her tally to six in a row.

Ellis' team never truly got out of second gear, and they held on to their lead comfortably for the remaining 45 minutes. Given they rested seven of their key players, their start to this tournament serves as a warning to the rest of the world.

     

2. Carli Lloyd most certainly has a big role to play

Lloyd may have been denied a second World Cup hat-trick in three games by her own penalty miss, but she showed in the match against Chile that she's got plenty more to give.

At 32 years of age in the 2015 tournament, it was easy to assume that was her high point on the world stage. But at 36, she already has three goals in the opening two matches of the tournament, and her wonderful whipped volley to open the scoring reminded everyone of her quality.

A powerful header doubled her tally, and besides the penalty miss, the Sky Blue FC star also hit the bar in the second half in search of what would have been a deserved hat-trick.

    

3. Italy are emerging as the dark horses few gave mention to

Canada, Australia and Spain were among the common teams mentioned as potential challengers to the top-ranked sides leading into the World Cup, but few even looked at Milena Bertolini's Italy side.

After coming from behind to shock everyone by beating Australia 2-1 in the first round, they unceremoniously took apart Jamaica in the second match, adding five more goals to their tally.

They look capable of scoring regularly at one end and solid at the other, so the Italians are not going to be considered a soft touch by anyone after securing qualification with a game to spare.

     

4. Japan served a brief but important warning shot that they're not to be forgotten

Japan were the most underwhelming of the top sides after the opening round of matches.

While not to take anything away from a resilient Argentina side, Japan were expected to break down the stubborn South Americans with their free-flowing style of football.

They've been quite open about looking further ahead to next year's Olympics in Tokyo, but there was no doubt they were going to be better suited to a more attacking Scotland team, and they showed just how good they can be with the extra room Shelley Kerr's side gave them.

Their opening goal was a quick glance at what they're capable of, and they now face a big game against England to decide who wins Group D.

     

5. The handball law is out of control

The video assistant referee (VAR) has been a talking point ever since the opening 30 minutes of the tournament, when Griedge Mbock had a goal disallowed for offside for the hosts against South Korea.

Nobody, though, could predict how many penalties were going to be given for handball, whether it be deliberate or not deliberate.

While some have been fairly awarded, it was hard to look at the penalty Sweden were given in the final minute against Thailand on Sunday and not think we've gone a little too far.

The ball glanced the arm of a defender from point-blank range, and after a VAR review, the decision was given.

VAR has caused controversy elsewhere, too, after debatable penalty decisions for both France and USA, but handballs remains the key talking point.  

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