The day off hopefully well spent, the 2015 Women's World Cup picked up back at the top of the cycle, as Groups A and B engaged in their second volley of matches.
Kicking off the day's festivities in Ottawa was a meeting between two sides who had won their opening matches with some style, Germany laying ten on their opponent, while Norway settled for just four, taking solid positions atop Group B.
It took just six minutes for the Germans to take the lead, Anja Mittag scoring her golden-boot leading fourth goal of the tournament from close range when Norwegian keeper, Ingrid Hjelmseth spilled a low drive from Dzsenifer Marozsan. Hjelmseth made the initial save, but left a juicy rebound for Mittag to touch in with her right-foot over the prone keeper.
Stung, but not willing to concede, Norway would search for an equalizer, drawing a fine save out of Nadine Angerer after Isabell Herlovsen worked her way into the left-side of the area.
Their chance would come on the hour mark.
An inch-perfect, bent through-ball from Ingrid Schjelderup looked to spring Herlovsen, who was felled by German defender Saskia Bartusiak, setting up a free-kick for the Gresshoppene in the 59th minute. Two minutes later, following a suspense-heightening substitution, Maren Mjelde stood over the ball inside the arc, guiding her right-footer over the wall and in off the underside of the crossbar at the top left-corner of the German goal. A beauty.
Die Nationalelf, however, are not accustomed to giving in, and nearly reinstated their lead immediately, only for Celia Sasic's header to be denied by the Norwegian keeper.
The 1-1 draw would see the two sides remain atop the group, tied on four points, but with German's goal-differential six better, still at plus-ten.
Meanwhile over in Group A, an encounter between China PR and Netherlands was getting underway. China, who could consider themselves hard done by after losing to a stoppage-time penalty to hosts Canada in the tournament opener, came out with a point to prove, pinning the Dutch back for large stretches of the match.
The Forceful Roses (or Steel, perhaps) found numerous chances: Han Peng did well to craft space for a shot on the left-corner of the area, but her left-footer was tipped over by Netherlands keeper, Sari Van Veenendaal. Van Veenendaal was called into action twice more in short order, making a double save on first Tang Jiali and then Ren Guixin in succession. Oranje defenses were in emergency mode.
With the second half the chances kept coming: a right-footed blast from Tang caromed off the face of the bar from distance and some neat combination play saw Ma Jun touch a ball from Tang on the left mercifully over the bar.
Just as the match looked destined to end scoreless, a long ball down the right-channel from Tan Ruyin sprung Wang Lisi behind Dutch defender Merel Van Dongen, Lisi getting a right-footed touch that redirected the ball past the onrushing keeper, handing the Chinese a 1-0 stoppage-time win of their own.
Flipping back to Group B and Landsdown Stadium, Cote d'Ivoire and Thailand, who were on the end of those heavy losses to Germany and Norway, respectively, took to the pitch for a thrilling encounter, a battle of elephants, each desperate to put the bad memories of their tournament debuts behind them.
The Ivorians needed just four minutes to score their first-ever World Cup goal, Ange Nguessan turning in a bouncing ball at the right-post after a corner kick from that side bobbled around the box. Christine Lohoues made the crucial play, directing a header back towards the near-side for Nguessan to get the final touch.
Thailand's Changsuk, or 'The War Elephants', responded furiously, equalizing and then taking the lead before half-time; Orathai Srimanee scoring both.
The first came in the 23rd minute when a long ball down the left for Anootsara Maijarern was crossed to the edge of the six, where Srimanne steered her finish to the left-side of goal with a leaping right-foot. Her second would have to wait until the third minute of first-half stoppage-time when a ball sprayed down the right this time for Rattikan Thongsombut, who had only subbed on five minutes earlier, set up another cross to the middle. Srimanee won a header in front of the onrushing Ivorian keeper, Dominique Thiamale, bouncing across the goal-line after banking off the underside of the bar – goal-line technology would confirm the goal quickly.
Thailand padded their lead in the 75th minute through Thanatta Chawong on a broken scrambled play. Chawong flicked a long ball forward toward the left, where teammate Maijarern tracked it down, drawing Thiamale way out of position. Turning to cross into the middle, Maijarern's ball bounced through the box, eluding a series of startled, panicked defenders, before finding its way to the back-post, where Chawong arrived to get on the end with a header to the open, right-side of goal.
Les Elephantes would charge back however, riding an individual effort from Josee Nahi in the 88th minute to within a goal of a draw. Nahi forced the turnover herself near the half-way line before embarking on a powerful, slaloming run, blazing past a pair of defenders before beating Thai keeper, Warapon Boonsing, with a right-footer low to the left-side of goal.
And the comeback was so close to being complete in the dying moments, only for Nguessan's touch from paces out to fall kindly into the grateful hands of Boonsing with the net gaping – her frustration at not being able to settle and get a clean touch on the ball was most visible.
The 2-3 win was Thailand's first-ever in the competition, the three points moving them into third in Group B – a surprise result in the final group match could see them progress; it was a result however that likely doomed Cote d'Ivoire to an early exit.
Capping off the night was the match everyone had been waiting for, as host Canada returned to the pitch to face coach John Herdman's former side, New Zealand in Edmonton.
But the wait would go on, five minutes into the match the teams were pulled from the field as storms in the area were a safety concern.
When the match finally resumed, its resumption blessed by a rainbow, it was New Zealand who found the best chance – Canada's Christine Sinclair saw the first, denied by keeper, Erin Nayler. And what a chance it was, winning a penalty kick in the 31st minute when Allysha Chapman was adjudged to have fouled Hannah Wilkinson in a confrontation – the Football Fern flapping a touch.
When the kick was finally taken two minutes later by Amber Hearn, her right-footer would beat Canadian keeper, Erin McLeod, but not the bar, mercifully denying New Zealand the lead.
Having survived that scare, Canada looked to get on the board themselves before half-time when Melissa Tancredi touched in from a Sophie Schmidt free-kick knocked down by Jonelle Filigno, only for the offside flag to negate the strike.
With the second half, The Flying Moose, aka Canada, would find numerous chances to all but seal their progression past the group stage: Sinclair had a glorious look in the 47th minute from the right-side of the area when a poor New Zealand clearance fell to her, but her placed right-footer was touched onto the bar by Nayler; Schmidt then saw her free-kick from deep on the right sail towards goal, smacking off the bar in the 72nd and then Tancredi found a wide open look on the left from a Sinclair pass, shooting straight at the keeper as she slipped on the soaked surface.
The match would end 0-0, leaving Group A delicately poised with Canada on top with four points and a plus-one, while China and Netherlands have three and zero; New Zealand brings up the rear, collecting their first point, but still on a minus-one goal-differential.
For Day Six, the action returns to Vancouver and Winnipeg, as Groups C and D resume.
Australia and Nigeria in Group D get things underway in Winnipeg at 5 pm (EST), the Aussies looking for their first point, Nigeria looks to build off their opening day draw. A Group C clash between Switzerland and Ecuador follows in short order at 7 pm (EST) in Vancouver, both sides looking to respond to earlier losses.
A high-profile Group D encounter pits the USA against Sweden at 8 pm (EST) back in Winnipeg, some months-old, critical comments about her past charges from former US/current Swedish coach Pia Sundhage ramping up the intensity for that one, and the day closes out with Japan and Cameroon at BC Place at 10 pm (EST), who battle for supremacy in Group C, each sitting on three points.