Ten things you may have missed at the Women’s World Cup

From an unlucky mascot to Lorne Donaldson’s acrobatics, eye-catching moments that may have passed you by

1 England players comfort Nnadozie after shootout loss

First thing you would expect a player to do when scoring a winning penalty is to run to their teammates in celebration. But after England’s Chloe Kelly scored against Nigeria in their last-16 match she went to console goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, who had remained on the ground after attempting to save Kelly’s effort. Kelly’s teammates Alex Greenwood and Hannah Hampton also went to check on Nnadozie – who made a succession of fine saves throughout the match – and Kelly told a camera operator to move away from the keeper.

2 Fifpro assisting Nigeria team in pay dispute

Fifpro, the players’ union, released a statement when Nigeria exited the World Cup after their defeat by England, saying they are assisting the players in their pay dispute. The players and the Nigeria Football Federation are in a disagreement about bonus payments, camp allowances and expenses, with some payments allegedly dating back to 2021. Fifpro said: “[We] will continue to work with the players to ensure their contractual rights are honoured and outstanding payments are settled.”

3 Swaby’s and Usme’s corner- kick coming together

The memory of annoying siblings was the first thing that came to mind watching Jamaica defender Chantelle Swaby’s reaction to being marked by Colombia’s Catalina Usme at a corner in their last-16 match. Swaby waited for the ball to come in and Usme tried to get as close to her as possible, but the Jamaica player was having none of it. Swaby continually pushed her away while not giving her any eye contact but Usme kept coming – eventually it took the referee, Kate Jacewicz, to separate them. The moment was a fan favourite on social media: take a look for yourself.

4 Musovic’s post-shootout ‘handshake’ with Naeher

Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic tried to shake her opposite number’s hand after their last‑16 win over the USA. But the winning penalty was decided by VAR and USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was still arguing that Lina Hurtig’s effort had not gone over the line. Not wanting to delay her celebrations after being a crucial part of knocking out the defending champions, Musovic grabbed the outstretched hand of a still-protesting Naeher and then turned and fist pumped in delight. Naeher hardly acknowledged it, still in disbelief at what had happened.


5 Donaldson’s acrobatics after Jamaica reach last 16

Jamaica’s group stage performances were impressive, including goalless draws against France and Brazil. The stalemate against Brazil secured the team a last-16 spot for the first time at a Women’s World Cup and prompted the head coach, Lorne Donaldson, to bring out his acrobatics. As the bench ran on to the pitch at full-time, Donaldson did a mix of a cartwheel/forward roll, which he had promised to do if they progressed. The celebrations came after Jamaica had to fundraise to travel to the World Cup.

6 Sweden’s Asllani defends the US team

The USA faced heavy criticism over this World Cup campaign after an underwhelming group stage and elimination in the second round – the earliest stage they have exited the tournament. The back-to-back defending champions were shown the door after Sweden beat them on penalties but Kosovare Asllani defended her opponents. “They have so much quality in their team, and this defeat will not take them down,” she said. “I expect them to be ready for the next World Cup. I wouldn’t say that they’re out of the game at all. So don’t talk shit about the US Women.”

7 Germany’s (not so) good luck charm

Germany had a mascot at each of their games, a crocheted koala made by the forward Klara Bühl. The team named the toy Waru and they took turns looking after it. “I’ve noticed that he’s brought about lots of energy,” Bühl, who took up crocheting when she had Covid during the 2022 European Championship, said. “He gives us a lot of joy and positive energy, and hopefully a lot of luck.” Sadly for the German team and fans it did not bring luck: they were knocked out in the group stage for the first time.

Germany’s Sara Doorsoun with the toy koala Waru.
Germany’s Sara Doorsoun with the toy koala Waru. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters

8 Kelly’s penalty speed faster than any Premier League goal in 2022-23

England’s Chloe Kelly is used to scoring decisive goals and penalties, and against Nigeria she was called on again. The Manchester City player stepped up to the spot with a hop and a skip and thumped the ball into the top corner to seal the Lionesses’ spot in the last eight. It was a monster strike too, at 69mph more powerful than any Premier League goal in the 2022-23 season. The most powerful goal from the England men’s top flight last campaign came from West Ham’s Saïd Benrahma against Crystal Palace when he hit the ball at 66.6mph.

9 Kerr bandies around her bandage

Sam Kerr has played her first minutes of the World Cup, coming on in Australia’s 2-0 win over Denmark in the last 16, but spent the group stage on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury. The TV director would occasionally turn to her, and during Australia’s final group game against Canada, one moment stood out above the rest. In the 87th minute the camera panned to Kerr who was taking off the bandaging on her calf. She turned to teammate Teagan Micah and waved the bandage towards her, pretending to throw it. Micah began to laugh, as did their teammate Lydia Williams, highlighting the mood as the hosts thumped the Olympic champions 4-0.

Sam Kerr on the bench during the Canada game.
Sam Kerr on the bench during the Canada game. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images

10 Ireland captain McCabe’s beef with coach Pauw

Ireland won their first point at a Women’s World Cup in their 0-0 draw against Nigeria in the group stage but the post-match interview with coach Vera Pauw saw her speak on a disagreement with captain Katie McCabe. The Arsenal player seemed to want more substitutions during the match and Pauw was asked about it, saying: “Why would we change? If Katie McCabe says that she wants to change it doesn’t mean … she’s not the coach. Everybody was doing so well so I said: ‘What do you want, Katie? Taking the best player off? No.’” McCabe has not had her say on the disagreement, but did tweet a zipped mouth emoji.


Sarah Rendell

The GuardianTramp

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