Things didn't turn out too well for the Copper Queens of Zambia in their FIFA Women's World Cup debut.
They faced former World Champions Japan in their opening match, suffering a humiliating 5-0 defeat. On top of that, the Copper Queens finished with 10 women after Catherine Musonda received her marching orders just before the final whistle.
Let's take a look at Zambia vs Japan as it happened.
JAPAN TOP ZAMBIA 🇯🇵🇿🇲🌏 2011 World Cup champions prove too much for Copper Queens, as Japan ride cohesive, skillful attack to 5-0 win over tournament debutants Zambia. Japan face Costa Rica next in Group C, while stern Spain challenge awaits for Zambia. pic.twitter.com/Vo4IeslBo6
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 22, 2023
First half: Copper Queens hold their own for 40 minutes
As expected, Zambia had a strong start to their World Cup debut; and although they never really threatened Japan, the Copper Queens managed to hold the fort for the first 40 minutes. Of course, Japan's Mina Tanaka found the back of the net in the 23rd minute, but that goal was canceled after a VAR review. The two-time World Cup finalists eventually opened the scoring in the 42nd minute, thanks to Hinata Miyazawa.
Although Zambia trailed by a lone goal at the midway point of today's match, it was actually a very one-sided half. The Copper Queens did not register a single shot, and they kept just 34 percent of the ball. In contrast, the Japanese had 12 total shots, with four of those going on target.
Floodgates open in second half
Despite having a one-goal lead, it was the Japanese who kept on piling the pressure on Zambia in the second half. Interestingly, Mina Tanaka scored once again, and this was ruled out by VAR. The Bayer Leverkusen forward's efforts were rewarded as she doubled Japan's lead five minutes later; she also assisted Hinata Miyazawa for Japan's third goal.
🚨 Unarmed 🇿🇲 Zambia gunned down
🇯🇵 Japan were ruthless against debutants Zambia in their opening match of #FIFAWWC ⚽ 🥅. The Japanese scored 5⃣ against the sluckish Copper Queens.
🇿🇲 Zambia 0⃣ – 5⃣ 🇯🇵 Japan
Hinata 43*, 62*
Ueki 90+10* pic.twitter.com/HvxzITI5Gm
— Mokone Sports 🇿🇦 (@jacits76) July 22, 2023
It's important to point out that the Copper Queen's woes continued late into the match. First-choice goalie Catherine Musonda was booked for a foul; and since this was her second yellow card, she received her marching orders. At this point, the Copper Queens were trailing by four goals, and also shorthanded. Japan's Riko Ueki converted from the spot, sealing all three points for the former World Champions.
It may interest you to know that Zambia did not register any shots in today's game — yes, you read that right. The Copper Queens literally had zero total shots, in 90 minutes. Japan, on the other hand, registered 26 total shots, with 11 of those going on target; they missed five of 11 big chances, hitting the woodwork once.
What this result means for the Copper Queens
— FAZ (@FAZFootball) July 22, 2023
With their disappointing loss in mind, the Copper Queens find themselves in last place, with a -5 goal difference. On the other hand, Japan currently lead the Group C standings with three points; they are closely followed by Spain, who cruised through a comfortable 3-0 victory over Costa Rica yesterday. Zambia's next match will be on 26 July, where they'll face second-placed Spain. Unfortunately, they'll have to do without their first choice goalkeeper for that game.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago