I launched the Slay-Ballers Campaign mainly because there was much awareness to be created around the increase in women playing soccer in women’s leagues all over the world, even as the gap between men’s and women’s football continues to expand. It has thus become an unofficial custom to offer insight into select games in select women’s soccer competitions around the world, and the 2023 Women’s World Cup is a good example to help this cause. Today, I present to you Spain playing Zambia as the third (out of six) Group C match, which will be played at Eden Park in Australia, the same stadium that hosted the opening match between New Zealand and Norway.
Spain created their own luck in their opening match, scoring three goals without reply against World Cup debutants Costa Rica. There was much experience on display, with Spain taking most of the possession and getting their shots on target. It was no surprise when they forced an own goal from the opposition in the twenty-first minute, and even then, they were relentless in passing around the ball to score more. By the twenty-seventh minute, they were up by three. This superb performance saw them break several team and tournament records – Spain Women’s highest-ever World Cup win, highest possession, the highest number of touches in the opposition area, and a record number of shots in a World Cup game. Confidence is sure to be sky-high in the Spain camp at the moment, and that’s not so much good news for the Zambians.
The Zambia team, debutants also, met an experienced foe in Japan and lost by five goals, amidst some surprise. While many expected the team to lose, few expected it to be so heavy. There was a gulf in quality, signaling that while the quality gap between women’s teams is closing up, there is still one, and it is still in some way wider than expected. This is the third time this year that Zambia has conceded 5+ goals, so it shows the team needs some work, as this loss puts their thrilling pre-tournament win over Germany in the shadows.
Head coach Jorge Vila will be looking to make no changes from the Costa Rica match, as the sheer gulf in class should prove to be too much for the Copper Queens. That Zambia’s goalie, Catherine Musonda is ruled out for the match as she collected a straight red card against Japan makes their task harder. This should be another high-scoring game with Zambia set to concede more goals. However, football can spring up surprises sometimes, so be prepared. See you at the next preview.