Coming into the 2011 Women's World Cup, England had wins over world powers Norway and the United States on their resume. With those wins and one of the best players in the world in Kelly Smith, big things were expected from the Three Lionesses in this tournament. Unfortunately for them and their fans, they were contained in their first game by a Mexico team who also owns an upset win over the U.S. women, as El Tri fought their way to a 1-1 draw.
Both goals were scored in the first half, and both highlighted why goalkeeping is likely to be very important in this tournament. While neither goal qualified as a howler, both were shots that the world class keepers like Hope Solo and Nadine Angerer would have had an excellent chance to stop. Mexico's 16 year old starter Cecilia Santiago had a great game, but looked lost on Fara Williams' brilliant headed goal in the 21st minute. On a corner kick, Williams rose up and hit a great looping header that sailed over the defense and dropped into the back of the net, giving England a 1-0 lead.
Mexico striker Monica Ocampo got one back for El Tri in the 33rd minute, and Karen Bardsley absolutely should have done better. The Atlanta Beat player took an ambitious rip from 30 yards out, hitting the target in the process, and Bardsley was completely caught out as she watched the ball hit the back of the net.
That would be the last goal of the game, as Mexico imposed their gameplan, kept the ball well, and frustrated England. The Three Lionesses didn't pass the ball well, while the usually great Eniola Aluko put in a fairly shocking performance. Kelly Smith was okay, but okay from her isn't going to do if England are going to advance in this tournament. With two tough games in front of them, they are likely to regret not taking three points from Mexico.