Americans bring Women's World Cup to life
By Steve Keating
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The United States brought the Women's World Cup to life on Monday as they rose to the top of the 'Group of Death' with a 3-1 win over Australia in front of a raucous crowd.
A day after the Ivory Coast were humiliated 10-0 by Germany, Nigeria and Cameroon restored African pride while Japan opened the defense of their title in Vancouver with a 1-0 win over Switzerland courtesy of a 29th minute strike from Aya Miyama.
Cameroon, who were making their first World Cup appearance, looked right at home on soccer's biggest stage as Gaelle Enganamouit score a hat-trick to lead the 53rd ranked Les Lionnes to a 6-0 victory over South American debutant Ecuador.
Nigeria and Sweden, who have appeared in all seven women's World Cups, experienced some first up jitters in Winnipeg with Francisca Ordega grabbing a late equalizer for the Africans to earn a 3-3 draw in the so called 'Group of Death'.
No nation will face a tougher road to the final than those in Group D, which features three teams ranked in the top 10, the U.S. (2), Sweden (5), Australia (10) and the 33rd-ranked Nigerians, who are the top African nation.
The first appearance by the U.S. created an electric atmosphere as fans flooded across the border, filling Winnipeg Stadium with a boisterous red, white and blue flag-waving crowd.
The American Outlaws, a U.S. supporters group, turned the north grandstand into a swath of red, white and blue with chants of "USA, USA" echoing through the stadium from the moment the players appeared from the tunnel.
With U.S. based in Winnipeg, American supporters have taken over the downtown area with groups filling restaurants and pubs bringing a lively buzz to the tournament that has been lacking in some of the other five venues. Continued...