The Lionesses recorded England's equal biggest FIFA Women's World Cup victory at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium (@Lionesses Twitter)

Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium may have been the smallest stadium used during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but it experienced its fair share of historical moments on the global stage.

Brazil’s “Jogo Bonito” reduces Panama to spectators in World Cup debut

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off on Thursday 20th of July, but Adelaide had to wait until Monday for its opening game. Despite the agonizing wait, South Australia was in for a treat when Brazil’s match against Panama finally kicked off proceedings at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Hours before a ball was even kicked, Brazilian fans gathered in their hundreds at The Gov, a pub near Hindmarsh Stadium, for an extravagant pre-match event straight out of Rio de Janeiro which culminated in a colossal march which police ended up closing down Port Road to accommodate.

While bystanders were captured by the atmosphere of the Brazilian fans, fans inside the stadium were wowed by Brazil’s “Joga Bonito” style of play, meaning to play beautifully, popularised by Pelé in the men’s game.

23-year-old Ary Borges made international headlines on her World Cup debut by recording a hat-trick against an overwhelmed Panama, but it was her assist in the four-goal victory that will be replayed for years, the goal representing the breathtaking way the Seleção plays its football.

Panama’s own FIFA Women’s World Cup debut did not go to plan, but the Adelaide locals were wowed by the Brazilians and even got to see the legendary Marta grace Hindmarsh Stadium.

Brazilian left-back Tamires praised the atmosphere created in Adelaide for Brazil’s first game, sharing, “It was amazing, there were a lot of yellow shirts and everyone was yelling for Brazil, it was crazy!”

Wang Shuang gets her World Cup moment to power 10-player China to victory

After conceding a late goal to Denmark in its opening match in Perth, China entered its clash against Haiti in Adelaide needing three points to remain in calculations for qualification to the Round of 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Steel Roses had their work cut out for them when Zhang Rui was sent off in the 29th minute for a dangerous challenge. Haiti saw an opportunity at halftime and introduced their sore star Melchie Dumornay off the bench, but China coach Shui Qingxia also went to her bench to introduce her own star Wang Shuang in search of three vital points.

After the break, China weathered an early storm and, despite having one less player, the quality of Wang Shuang became evident when she used the time and space she was afforded to pick out Zhang Linyan on the wing who beat her marker in the box and was subsequently fouled.

Wang Shuang stepped up to cooly slot the resulting penalty to make the most of her World Cup moment, one that China desperately held on to late in the game to claim all three points against a talented, but hapless Haiti side.

Morocco recovers in style to make Arab women’s football history

Australia and New Zealand 2023 was historic in the fact that Morocco became the first Arab country to appear in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Despite the excitement, the Atlas Lionesses were instantly brought back down to earth by Germany after a six-goal humbling in their tournament debut in Melbourne.

When Morocco took on South Korea days later, two sides that experienced disappointment in their opening fixtures, the tension was palpable at Hindmarsh Stadium. The atmosphere quickly turned festive when Moroccan forward Ibtissam Jraïdi glanced home her country’s first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup goal.

A confident display followed and Morocco added the title of the first Arab side to claim three points at the pinnacle of women’s world football, along with the honours of being the first Arab nation to appear and to score in a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Nouhaila Benzina became the first player to ever appear in the tournament wearing a hijab, while defensive partner Nasryne El Chad shared with the media the importance of the visibility this tournament provides for girls in her home country stating, “In Arabic countries, it is complicated for many girls to play football because it’s a ‘sport for men.’ In the last year, we do everything we can to change it in our country.”

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Lauren James announces herself on the international stage

England’s disappointing offensive showing against Haiti in its first match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign saw fans and media call on coach Sarina Wiegman to promote rising star Lauren James to her side’s starting lineup. James scored her side’s only goal in its second match against Denmark in Sydney, but it was in Adelaide where the forward and the Lionesses raised eyebrows.

England opened the scoring, through Alessia Russo, in Adelaide after only three minutes which was the first of England’s six goals and astoundingly the first of five goals Lauren James was involved in on the night. James assisted Lauren Hemp’s effort 20 minutes later before scoring two cracking goals to end the half, one being ruled out for offside.

In the 65h minute, after China pulled a goal back from the spot, James once again put the ball in the back of the net in spectacular fashion, catching Jess Carter’s cross on a full volley to bring Hindmarsh Stadium to its feet. The one and only goal England scored which James was not involved in came three minutes after she was withdrawn from the game when Rachel Daly tapped the ball home at the back post to equal England’s biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup history on a night that is sure to be remembered for years to come.

To make matters even better for South Australian fans, on top of a dazzling England performance, Lionesses captain Millie Bright had high praise for Hindmarsh Stadium, stating “It’s a beautiful, beautiful stadium, and the pitch is like a carpet,” when speaking to media after the match.

France ends Morocco’s fairytale to book a Quarter-Final with the Matildas

Adelaide’s single Round of 16 matchup saw heavyweights France host tournament Cinderella story Morocco, with the winner of the match earning the right to take on the Matildas for a spot in the Semi-Finals. With everyone in the crowd undoubtedly having a vested interest in the encounter, Hindmarh was perfectly poised for its final day of FIFA Women’s World Cup action.

Early on, Hervé Renard’s side showed it does not believe in fairytales, putting Morocco under pressure and a lighting-quick combination on the left-hand side providing sparkling service for Kadidiatou Diani who opened the scoring. In a matter of minutes, Kenza Dali and Eugénie Le Sommer made it three to effectively decide the tie by the halftime break.

Morocco could not muster a comeback, with Le Sommer wrapping up the scoring with a fourth goal for Les Bleues, but it concluded a historic tournament for Reynald Pedros’ side which inspired a generation of female Arab footballers through their performance on the world stage. Meanwhile, France set up an intriguing clash with the Matildas in Brisbane, a rematch of the “Send Off” match played in Melbourne days before the tournament.

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