Tight contests and slim margins
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THE DAY REPLAYED – There were wins for the favourites on the third day of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ as world No1 USA defeated Korea DPR, and Sweden saw off Colombia. However, once again the theme of the day was the closeness of competition in front of buoyant crowds enjoying warm German sunshine. It has been a recurring premise and after three days of competition, the tournament would have seen six matches completed without a two-goal winning margin, but for USA’s second clinching goal against Korea DPR.

The two-time world champions made their much-anticipated debut at Germany 2011, and the Stars and Stripes were made to work extremely hard before overcoming a typically resolute Korea DPR in Dresden. Lauren Cheney broke the stalemate nine minutes after the interval, before Rachel Buehler sealed the victory with around a quarter of an hour to play. Sweden found tournament debutants Colombia to be in equally stubborn mood although the European heavyweights spurned a number of goalscoring opportunities. Jessica Landstrom was the major culprit with a notable first-half miss, only to make up for it with a second-half conversion after being set up by the always impressive Lotta Schelin.

Results
Colombia 0-1 Sweden
USA 2-0 Korea DPR

Goal of the day
USAKorea DPR, Lauren Cheney, 54
While not having the spectacular appeal of some of the goals seen in the opening two days, Lauren Cheney’s headed strike to break the deadlock against Korea DPR was meritorious in its own right. Abby Wambach created space on the left flank before delivering a telling cross onto the head of Cheney who, having lost her marker, was able to expertly direct her header back across goal and inside the far post.

Memorable moments
Well supported Boxx
USA’s veteran midfielder Shannon Boxx seemingly enjoyed the support of her own fan club in Dresden today. The veteran of two FIFA Women’s World Cups enjoyed the support of around 20 people holding a banner and cheering her every move. Perhaps her 34th birthday tomorrow also helped Boxx get through 90 torrid minutes in warm conditions at the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion.

Debutants singing up storm
Colombia helped throw off their FIFA Women’s World Cup debutant nerves with some rhythmic singing and swaying in the tunnel prior to the match against Sweden. Skipper Natalia Gaitan led the way as the team went through their repertoire of Colombian songs which they have adapted to their own lyrics, however, the defender was far more reticent when asked for a reprise by the media after the match.

The stat
12
– The FIFA Women’s World Cup would have seen six consecutive matches decided by a margin of one goal or less for the first time, but for Rachel Buehler’s second goal for USA 14 minutes from full time against Korea DPR. Only once before had five consecutive matches had such close results, which was 12 years ago at the 1999 edition of the tournament in USA. Germany 2011 had previously seen four one-goal victories and a draw until this evening’s match in Dresden.

The quote
“The atmosphere was really great and you could really feel the support of the fans on the pitch. We want to get as far as possible in this tournament but we have a very hard group so we have to be fully focused for each game.” Sara Thunebro, Sweden defender

Next up
Wednesday 29 June 2011
Norway – Equatorial Guinea, 15.00 CET, Augsburg
Brazil – Australia, 18.15 CET, Moenchengladbach

Have your say
USA made their Germany 2011 debut with a solid victory over perennial Asian challengers Korea DPR. What did you think of the Americans' debut and what are their chances of winning a third FIFA Women’s World Cup?