Power Moments: What We Learned from the 3rd Set of Women's World Cup Matches

Richard LavertyContributor IJune 22, 2019

United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, kisses teammate and goal scorer Lindsey Horan during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and the United States at Stade Océane, in Le Havre, France, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

After three rounds of group-stage games, the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup is taking shape. What have we learned before the knockout stages of the tournament begin?

                 

1. No Need for USA to Worry over Midfield Depth

There was some concern about what would happen to the U.S. midfield if Julie Ertz got injured, but based on the opening games, that doesn't seem to be an issue. Ertz deputised at centre-back in the United States' opener, but when she missed out on Thursday's game against Sweden, the impressive trio of Lindsey Horan, Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle did the job brilliantly.

Lavelle has had an excellent tournament, while Mewis scored two on her World Cup debut against Thailand. With Horan highly thought of as one of the best around at the moment, there shouldn't be too much cause for concern should Ertz be out for any length of time.

            

Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

2. The U.S. Have a Huge Set-Piece Advantage

The U.S. have always been known as a physically strong team, especially compared to the majority of the other nations. They once again seem to hold a big threat from set-pieces, especially thanks to some top deliveries against Chile from Tierna Davidson.

Both Ertz and Carli Lloyd scored flying headers in the second match of the group, and it was Horan who pounced on a loose ball from a corner against a much-changed Sweden side to give the U.S. an early lead in the deciding group game.

     

GRENOBLE, FRANCE - JUNE 18: Sam Kerr of Australia celebrates scoring her side's and her own fourth goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group C match between Jamaica and Australia at Stade des Alpes on June 18, 2019 in Grenoble, France. (Pho
Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

3. Sam Kerr Can Save Australia

Australia have been hit-and-miss given their tag as one of the dark horses to challenge for the tournament, but if they have a chance, Sam Kerr is proving she's going to play a big part.

Kerr scored the team's opening goal of the tournament, but it was her four-goal haul against Jamaica that caught the headlines and secured Australia's path to the second round. While a couple of the goals were gifted to her, it goes to show that the best strikers will pounce on such errors if they keep happening.

     

LE HAVRE, FRANCE - JUNE 20: VAR screen is seen prior to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Sweden and USA at Stade Oceane on June 20, 2019 in Le Havre, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

4. Don't Hate VAR—Hate the Laws

VAR has been the most talked-about thing at this tournament, certainly more so than the standard of football. But VAR has done little wrong bar following the laws of the game in each game.

Of course, there have been refereeing errors, and many just accept that as part of the game, so isn't it necessary to have VAR to iron out the bad decisions where we can? Perhaps the interpretation of handball laws or the new goalkeeping laws needs a rethink, but that's another discussion. So far, VAR, while it could benefit from speeding up at times, has worked quite well.

         

RENNES, FRANCE - JUNE 20: The Chile team form a team huddle after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Thailand and Chile at Roazhon Park on June 20, 2019 in Rennes, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

5. Some Teams Just Left It Too Late

Given that one win from three group games was likely to enough to see any team qualify for the next round of the World Cup, several teams will be wondering "what if?" now that their tournaments are at an end.

Scotland and Argentina did each other no favours after playing out a 3-3 draw, and both will wonder where their goal-scoring touch was earlier in the tournament.

South Korea also had their moments against Norway after two dismal performances, while Chile showed what they are capable of, with only an 86th-minute missed penalty against Thailand denying them a second-round match versus England.

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