- Mariko Ishizuka / AFP) (Photo by MARIKO ISHIZUKA/AFP via Getty Images
Goal review the notable incidents from the fixtures that were held over the weekend.
Unstoppable Barbra Banda has been Africa’s brightest star so far
After setting multiple records with a hat-trick despite a 10-3 thrashing by the Netherlands, Banda was in amazing form in Zambia’s 4-4 draw with China on Saturday.
She netted another treble, taking her tally in the whole tournament to six and may end top scorer even if a group stage elimination is imminent.
Zambia did come close to victory, though, having fought back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 until Shuang Wang’s leveller with six minutes of normal time remaining.
Thus, they just have to keep things extra solid at the back and hope Banda’s form continues against favourites Brazil…it’s easier said than done!
- AYAKA NAITO/AFP via Getty Images
Kobamelo Kodisang unlucky in South Africa’s defeat by France
While the nation’s central defenders and goalkeeper stood out in the narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of Japan, Kodisang was pivotal in nearly helping his team to a largely deserved point against France on Sunday.
The wide attacker not only scored and set up another in the eventual 4-3 defeat, but he was also lively until his 78-minute withdrawal as well, notably winning the first-half penalty that was missed.
Qualification is no longer in South Africa’s hands, but with Kodisang in such form, they have a fighting chance of making it to the last eight.
Akram Tawfik deserved more after glowing showing against Argentina
Egypt showed heart after falling behind to Facundo Medina’s strike seven minutes after the break, but it was Tawfik’s showing that caught the eye in Sapporo.
The midfielder was a joy to watch in and out of possession, completing all five attempted dribbles in 90 minutes and the accuracy of his passing was rather commendable amid the pressure from the South Americans.
When the young Pharaohs didn’t have the ball, he gave as good as he got as well in getting stuck in where necessary. He won nine of his total duels, joint-top for the North Africans.
Shawky Gharib has to go for it against
After playing within themselves in the opening game against Spain and for the majority of the 1-0 defeat on Sunday, Egypt must start stronger when they tackle Australia in a make-or-break fixture.
The North Africans need maximum points in their final group game and then hope for a positive result for the Spanish team if they’re to make it through to the last eight.
Having shown they are capable of playing front-foot football after Argentina took the lead on Sunday, Gharib’s team need to play positively vs Australia.
Why didn’t Ivory Coast try harder against Brazil?
On the surface, criticising the West African nation for a draw against Brazil will attract a bit of censure, but were the Little Elephants too negative on Sunday?
Following Douglas Luiz’s early dismissal, you expected Franck Kessie, Amad Diallo and co. to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
However, the South Americans still dominated proceedings even with a man less and outshot Ivory Coast 9-5.
Soualiho Haidara’s team didn’t even muster a second-half attempt before and after Kouassi Eboue received a second yellow with 11 minutes to play.
If the African nation eventually exit the competition, they will look to Sunday’s negative approach and rue not turning the screw against a shorthanded Brazil side.