FIFA Women’s World Cup Group C review: Cameroon are the darkhorses, Japan tested against Switzerland

Japan and Switzerland fans enjoying themselves. Source: Getty Images.
Japan and Switzerland fans enjoying themselves. Source: Getty Images. /

Joe Soriano reviews action from Group C where Cameroon routed Ecuador and Japan faced a stern test from Switzerland…

Group C has been seen as the “litmus test” group in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and it goes beyond the fact that this group contains two teams in Cameroon and Ecuador that are appearing in their first ever Women’s World Cups. Moreover, Group C has one of the World Cup’s favorites in Japan, another top side in Switzerland, and Cameroon was seen as a promising unknown coming into the tournament.

Cameroon 6, Ecuador 0

Cameroon /

Although it’s a tough group, keep in mind that Cameroon’s chances of going through into the knockout stages were still relatively favorable coming into the tournament, because four third-place teams with the highest goal difference get to move on to the next round.

Well, they absolutely throttled Ecuador yesterday in a resounding 6-0 victory that basically ensures they will make it into the next round on goal differential (at the very least), as long as they don’t make any major mistakes. Of course, Japan and Switzerland are so good that Cameroon could conceivably be blown out at some point in the group stages, but they are still in an excellent position.

Cameroon’s 6-0 victory is historic, because that is the largest margin of victory for any African team in a World Cup. Gaelle Enganamouit completed a hat trick after a 94th minute penalty, and stars Madeleine Ngono Mani and Christine Manie (also a penalty kick) managed to get on the score sheet.

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Ecuador’s huge loss was a rude welcome to the World Cup stage, and they will have to play infinitely better if they want to avoid two more shocking defeats to Japan and Switzerland sides that are theoretically significantly better than Cameroon, though Les Lionnes are so much of an unknown that they could possibly be better.

It will be exciting to see how Cameroon fares out against tougher competition in their group, as they managed to have 23 shots and 13 target compared to no shots on target for Ecuador. Their next game is on Friday at 10:00 p.m. ET against Japan, so that will be a huge test for what looks like a very promising side.

Japan 1, Switzerland 0

We knew that this battle would be a well-fought game between two of the best sides in the competition, and the defending champions can consider themselves lucky to get all three points. A well-taken penalty from captain Aya Miyama, who scored her 37th goal for the national team, in the 29th minute was the only thing separating the sides.

Japan should be worried about a let-down performance on Friday against Cameroon, because while they are still the favorites by a significant margin, they were given quite a scare by a faster and more physical Swiss side that was unlucky to see star striker Ramona Bachmann, who is one of the tournament’s best players, come up with a goal. She was so close to scoring some excellent goals, and she was by far the best player on the pitch last night.

Japan /

Switzerland will face Ecuador at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, and I would be beyond shocked if Bachmann doesn’t grab a goal and would not be shocked at all if she gets a hat trick of her own. Ecuador will most likely have major issues defending the Swiss, especially since one of their star players is on absolute fire.

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The big thing here for Japan is that they still won without playing their best game, and those three points are obviously massive. There’s no question that they are the favorites to win the group, and they’ve essentially locked up a spot in the next round. We’ll see if they can put their technical ability and experience to good use on Friday and stop Cameroon’s run of goals, and that will definitely be an interesting battle to watch between the teams that are currently at the top of the table in Group C with three apiece.

If you like watching pace, strength, and incredible slaloms up the pitch, then do yourself a favor and watch this GIF of Bachmann’s from last night. If only she hadn’t slipped, because this was sensational.

Both Japan and Switzerland had about the same number of chances with the Japanese having three more shots but three less percentages of possession, while both teams had two shots on target. It was a typical performance between two strong and evenly-matched sides, but Japan’s less effective play in the second half is something to keep an eye on. Perhaps it was a result of being outworked by a more athletic Swiss side, but this isn’t a major concern.

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