Paris: Japan failed to break down a determined and well-organised Argentine defence in Paris yesterday in the first goalless draw of the Women’s World Cup.
Later in the day, Canada broke through a determined Cameroon defence on the stroke of half time to win the Group E opener 1-0 in Montpellier.
Canada dominated possession and heavily outshot Cameroon but only breached the defence once from a well rehearsed corner. Defender Kedeisha Buchanan arrived late to head in unchallenged.
The other two teams in the group, Netherlands and New Zealand, meet in Le Havre today.
Japan, finalists in 2015 and winners in 2011, enjoyed almost two thirds of possession in front of a crowd of 25,000, but only forced two saves from goalkeeper Vanina Correa.
Argentina’s women, who have never won a match at the World Cup, managed three tame late strikes, none of which tested Ayaka Yamashita.
The result, which earned Argentina’s women their very first point in a World Cup, leaves both teams on one point in Group D, behind England who beat Scotland on Sunday.
When the whistle blew at Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc des Princes stadium Argentina’s substitutes jumped off the bench to join the players on the pitch at finally getting a point on the World Cup board at the seventh attempt.
“This point is really important for us. I think we’re able to reflect upon what Argentina is and what it means as a team,” said Estefania Banini, Argentina’s captain who was voted player of the match.
“We weren’t good enough to break down Argentina’s defence today,” said Asako Takakura, the Japan coach.
Argentina came out to defend with a back four pressing high up the field, the midfield quartet forming a screen a few yards in front and attacker Banini dropping back to fill the gaps.
“Basically we couldn’t play any other way against this team,” said Carlos Borrello, the Argentina manager. “We had to keep ourselves back and focused, and be very, very organised with that sort of attitude to come out with a counter-attack.”