Day Three saw two more groups play their opening matches, leaving just the final two to make their introductions to the 2015 rendition of the tournament.
Day One was tense with a pair of close matches; Day Two witnessed the first lop-sided blowouts with Norway and Germany laying four and ten on Thailand and Cote d'Ivoire, respectively.
But Day Three offered something a little bit different. A pair of hard fought, high-scoring (sort of) contests that combined the drama of the opening day with the goal-scoring of the second – that said, there was another blowout and a low-scoring tense affair, as well.
The day began in Winnipeg and Group D, where Sweden took to the pitch to face their opening opponents, Nigeria. The Swedes started more brightly, but required a spot of luck to nab the opener: a left-sided in-swinging corner kick from Therese Sjogran was touched towards goal by Nilla Fischer, banking off the chest of Nigerian defender Desire Oparanozie to dribble over the goal-line in the 20th minute.
The Blagult (Blueyellow), as the Swedes are known (apparently), would add a second in the 31st minute, Fischer again providing the crucial touch, tapping in at the left-post on the back-side after a cleared corner kick was put back into the box.
Sweden would take that two-goal advantage into half-time, but, aside from that being the 'most-dangerous-lead-in-football', there had been glimpses of the threat the Super Falcons possessed: Asisat Oshoala had dragged a shot wide of the post, the rebound from a free-kick into the wall was put wide by Ngozi Ebere, while Oshoala showed her pace to break in behind the Swedish back-line, only for the off-side flag to nullify. Chances would come.
Five minutes into the second half the Nigerians would get on the board, Oparanozie pouncing on a midfield turnover to thread in Ngozi Okobe, who hit a low right-footer across the keeper, Hedvig Lindahl, to the left-side of goal.
And three minutes after that they would equalize, stunning the experienced Swedes; Oshoala outmuscled a defender to break in alone down the left-channel, beating Lindahl to the short-side. The sight of Nigerians celebrating was worth the price of admission alone.
Sweden would retake the lead in the 60th minute, working the ball down the right before Lina Nilsson's square ball was bodied in by Linda Sembrant.
Nigerian heads did not drop, the Falcons swooping the Swedish box in an almighty goal-mouth scramble in the 69th that came to naught: they would have to wait for their equalizer.
But it would come, in the 87th minute, when Okobi played through Francisca Ordega with a lovely ball and her left-footer beat the keeper to seal the 3-3 result. A thoroughly entertaining match.
Relocating to Vancouver and Group C for the next offering, that group kicked off with a 6-0 win in a contest between tournament debutantes; Cameroon mercilessly dispatching of Ecuador.
It would take until the 34th minute for the floodgates to open, but open they did, as the Indomitable Lionesses surged to a three-goal lead in a ten-minute span: Madeleine Ngono Mani turning in the rebound from a Gaelle Enganamouit shot after a thrilling run down the right by Gabrielle Onguene; Enganamouit herself played in by a long ball over the top, sliding a right-footed finish past Ecuadorean keeper, Shirly Berruz, in the 36th, and then striking from the penalty spot in the 43rd after defender Kerlly Real bundled over an attacker inside the box, allowing the Cameroonian captain, Christine Manie, to right-foot her finish past Berruz, sending the effort to the keeper's right as she dove in the other direction.
Things would get worse for La Tricolor in the 66th minute when Ligia Moreira was dismissed for clipping Enganamouit as she attempted to break in on goal having lifted the ball over the defender – the first red card of the tournament.
Cameroon would add a further trio of goals up a woman, taking the fourth well in the 73rd minute when Onguene surged up the left, squaring to a pair of awaiting teammates, Enganamouit, the more central of the two right-footing into the gaping goal. The final two would both harshly come from the penalty spot.
The first was fair enough, as Katherine Ortiz was called for a handball on a Claudine Meffometou Tcheno cross – the kick dispatched by Onguene in the 79th minute. But the second, a supposed trip on Enganamouit by defender Mayra Olvera, was rather soft – Enganamouit herself would convert the kick, completing the rout and her hat-trick, with a right-footed blast past the keeper, who guessed correctly, but overleapt the placement.
Back to Group D and Winnipeg for the next match, as the highly-thought of American team opened their tournament with a 3-1 win over Australia. It was a game that was closer than the scoreline implied.
Australia came out like a shot, all over the Americans through the first quarter of an hour, drawing a pair of fine saves from the controversy-riddled US keeper, Hope Solo. Despite that pressure, it was Megan Rapinoe who opened the scoring in the 12th minute, cutting in from the left to get off a right-footed shot that deflected off a defender to wrong-foot Melissa Barbieri, the Aussie keeper.
The Matildas kept up their pressure, responding in the 27th minute on a well-worked goal, capped by a left-footed finish from Lisa De Vanna, beating Solo low to the bottom-right corner.
But the Stars and Stripes had too much quality to be limited to just a single goal, adding a further pair after the hour-mark. Christen Press got the winner in the 61st minute, finishing off a Sydney Leroux run and pull-back up the left with a low strike and Rapinoe completed her brace in the 78th moving in down the left to find the space for a left-footed shot across the keeper to the far-post.
Group D would end with the USA on top, with three points a plus-two goal differential, while Sweden and Nigeria are tied for second following their draw. Australian brings up the rear on zero points and a minus-two.
The day's final match, back in Vancouver and Group C, would pit Defending Champions, Japan, against Switzerland, the Japanese scoring the game's only goal from the penalty spot in the 27th minute through Aya Miyama.
The chance for Nadeshiko Japan (which is apparently a type of flower and/or colour) came after a nasty collision between the Swiss keeper, Gaelle Thalmann, and Japanese forward Kozue Ando. The keeper appeared to get a hand to the ball, perhaps quelling the chance, but the referee thought otherwise and Miyama dispatched the kick, right-footing low to the goalkeeper's right; Thalmann dove in that direction, but could not reach the well-placed finish.
The two sides would exchange half-chances through the remaining hour. A wonderful run from Swiss number ten, Ramona Bachann in the 54th minute, allowed her to break down the left-side of the box, but she failed to get off a shot, slipping at the crucial moment. Japan would hit the post in the 68th minute, substitute Yuika Sugasawa right-footer from inside the arc beat the keeper, but not the woodwork.
A final chance to equalize fell La Nati's way in the 92nd minute when the ball fell kindly to Bachmann, but leaning back, her right-footer sailed over the target, dooming her side to a 1-0 loss.
Group C would end with Cameroon on top having collected three points and a plus-six with their win; Japan were level on points, but five-goals shy of that goal-scoring mark. Switzerland and Ecuador are level on zero, but the difference in goal-difference in near-insurmountable.
Today, Tuesday, will see the final round of opening matches before a day of rest and the whole cycle restarts from the top. A full slate of four potentially-cracking matches begins with Group F action as old rivals France and England face off in Moncton at 1 pm (EST). Colombia and Mexico round out that group with a 4 pm (EST) kickoff at the same venue.
Group E meanwhile begins at 4 pm (EST), when Spain and Costa Rica meet in Montreal, while the nightcap at 7 pm (EST) sees Brazil make their introductions, facing off against Korea Republic.
Should be a good day; enjoy!