Mexico hold England to draw


A freak long-range goal from Mexico forward Monica Ocampo saw the central Americans hold England to a 1-1 draw on Monday in their opening Group B match of the women’s World Cup. The Atlanta Beat winger was well outside the England penalty area when she hit a long-range first-half effort which curled up towards the cloudless sky before dropping down into the top left hand-corner of the England net.
“It’s not something that I trained to do, it just came from the flow of the game. Thank god it went in and it put us back in the game,” said Ocampo. “It is special because it is a World Cup goal, I am really proud to have scored it.”
Ocampo’s effort in the 33rd minute was enough to share the points in Wolfsburg after England midfielder Fara Williams had earlier put the Three Lions ahead. “No excuses, we have played better and we will have to play better if we want to stay in this tournament,” said England coach Hope Powell. “The goal flew in, didn’t it, we would have expected the goalkeeper to save that, she is bitterly disappointed, we dominated up until that point, so we gave away a point.”
Leonardo Cuellar’s Mexico face Group B leaders Japan in Leverkusen on Friday while England take on New Zealand in Dresden the same day. The Japanese lead the group after their 2-1 win over New Zealand earlier in the day.
Powell’s England side had got off to a fine start when Williams’ looping header opened the scoring after just 21 minutes. An accurate cross from Birmingham City forward Karen Carney eluded the Mexican defence, but found Williams on the edge of the penalty box, who headed home.
But the Mexicans drew level thanks to woman-of-the-match Ocampo’s stunning effort after her shot appeared to be flying high over the England goal.
English goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was tracking the shot, but was caught out as it dipped down behind her and into the net to put the Mexicans level at the break.
Not surprisingly, the goal put England on the back foot while the Mexicans proceeded to fire in several attempts at Bardsley as they tested her ability — and nerves — from numerous angles. England wasted a golden chance to regain the lead just after half-time when striker Eniola Aluko failed to convert from just six yards out.
The 24-year-old was left with her head in her hands as her miss-timed swipe at the ball trickled though her legs and Mexico cleared the danger. The game was briefly halted with less than 20 minutes left after Mexican captain Maribel Dominguez went down with cramp and was stretchered off and both sides took the opportunity to take on water on a hot afternoon. England conceded a free-kick to the left of goal when defender Casey Stoney was booked for a dangerous tackle with time almost up but this time Ocampo’s shot flew over and failed to break the deadlock.