With Colombia and South Korea facing off today, every nation in the World Cup will have played a game by the final whistle in that match.

So we’ve seen minnows take it up to giants, favourites assert their dominance, and a slip of the tongue about Sam Kerr that had media managers scrambling.

Here’s the five talking points heading into day five of action.

1. Colombian teenager on incredible journey back from cancer

At 15, Linda Caicedo, now a star forward on Colombia’s Women’s World Cup roster, received a crushing diagnosis. She had ovarian cancer.

Caicedo already had made her debut for Colombian professional team América de Cali and the Colombian senior women’s national team.

With this news, though, her soccer career seemed over.

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“I remember I was going into surgery one day and I was feeling really bad,” Caicedo said.

“Because I thought that I was not going to be able to play top-level football again.”

The Colombian women’s team head coach, Nelson Abadía, provided words of encouragement over the phone.

“He said, ‘no, just relax’,” Caicedo recalled.

“‘You’re going to come back’.”

She’s now one of the best young players in the world.

The 18-year-old Caicedo is expected to make her Women’s World Cup debut in Colombia’s opener against South Korea at midday today (AEST) at the Sydney Football Stadium.

To those battling cancer, Caicedo has a message: “I am an example that you can get out of that and overcome this.”

The match also could mark the World Cup debut of 16-year-old South Korea forward Casey Phair. Born to a Korean mother and American father and raised in the US, Phair is not expected to start. Should she play, she would become the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup, men’s or women’s.

2. BBC apologises for question to Moroccan captain on gay players

The BBC was forced to apologise for an “inappropriate” question from one of its reporters, directed at the captain of the Morocco women’s national team.

At a press conference ahead of Morocco’s opener against Germany, a reporter asked Ghizlane Chebbak a question that left the panel visibly confused and uncomfortable.

“In Morocco, it’s illegal to have a gay relationship. Do you have any gay players in your squad and what’s life like for them in Morocco?” the reporter said.

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The press conference moderator interjected, saying: “Sorry, this is a very political question, so we’ll just stick to questions relating to football.”

“No, it’s not political,” the journalist replied.

“It’s about people, it’s got nothing to do with politics. Please let her answer the question.”

A BBC spokesperson later acknowledged the question was inappropriate. 

“We recognise that the question was inappropriate,” they said.

“We had no intention to cause any harm or distress.”

Shireen Ahmed, a reporter for CBC Sports, wrote that the reporter was “completely out of line.”

“Harm reduction matters and posing the question to the captain or coach was unnecessary,” she said.

“Asking a player about her teammates and whether they are gay and how it affects them when you know it is not permissible is bizarre and out of line. The captain cannot out players nor comment on policy [because] it could be dangerous for them, too.

“If reporting harms someone, it is not only unethical but dangerous.”

3. Ticket sales hit 1.5 million as record looms

A New Zealand family of five purchased the tickets that took the sales total to 1.5 million for the Women’s World Cup on Monday.

Soccer’s world governing body says the tournament, being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, is on track to be the best-attended in the competition’s history.

FIFA said the 1,500,000th ticket went to Auckland woman Maria Strong, who bought tickets for her husband and three children to attend Italy’s Group G win over Argentina at Eden Park as part of a family celebration for her son’s 12th birthday.

In a statement, FIFA said the sales target had been surpassed within the first five days of the month-long tournament, setting the 2023 edition on course to surpass 2015 in Canada for the record attendance. More than 1.35 million people attended a 52-game tournament in Canada. The tournament has expanded to 32 teams this year.

The opening games set records for women’s soccer matches in both co-host countries. The crowd at New Zealand’s upset win over Norway last Thursday set a new mark of 42,137. Australia’s 1-0 over Ireland attracted 75,784 at Stadium Australia, which is also the venue for the final on August 20.

“We are seeing a surge in support for women’s football, not just in ticket sales, but also in broadcast viewership, fan festival participation and merchandise sales,” Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said.

4. Offside trap proves a problem in Auckland

It’s a cliché that the margins are small at elite level, but for all football there is one rule that everyone learns early – don’t be ahead of the last defender when you get the pass before scoring a goal.

On this day, however, either the defenders were positioning themselves perfectly, or the attackers had missed out on that briefing, because offsides were everywhere.

In a physical encounter in Auckland, Italy thought they had scored twice in the first half, but first Arianna Caruso and then later Valentina Giacinti were left frustrated after their goals were ruled out – Caruso in particular was at least a metre offside.

Then in Melbourne, Germany put six past Morocco, but the score could have been much, much higher.

A Moroccan player slots the ball into the net with her right foot as she is surrounded by German defenders.

Morocco’s Anissa Lahmari was one of several players to have goals ruled out for offside on a frustrating day at the Women’s World Cup. (Getty Images: Robert Cianflone)

Just after the half-hour mark, a dominant German side cut through Morocco’s defence, and Sara Daebritz finished well, only for the familiar raising of the flag meant no addition to the score.

Then eight minutes into the second half, Anissa Lahmari thought she had made history for Morocco with a fine right-foot strike curled into the far corner. But most of the crowd – and perhaps even some of the German fans – were left disappointed after another offside was found.

To add insult to injury, within a minute of Lahmari’s fine strike being struck off, the Moroccans were picking the ball out of their own net once more as Germany went straight down the field to get their fourth of the night, as Hanane Ait El Haj put the ball in for an own goal.

The hits kept coming – in added time, Germany had another goal ruled out from Lea Schuller after another slight bit of mistiming.

So it was that before the third game of the day had even started, six goals had already been chalked off for offside.

Funnily enough, neither Brazil nor Panama added to the carnage, but still – that’s a big day for the linespeople.

5. Proud crowd pumps up Brazil and Panama clash

Pride. That summed up the atmosphere of the game between Brazil and Panama in Adelaide on Monday night.

You could feel it in how loud the Brazilian fans were, and you could see it when the Panamanian players’ eyes welled up during their national anthem.

Brazil’s forward Borges scored the first hat-trick of this Women’s World Cup in front of hundreds of fans dressed in “verde e amarelo”, with a fourth goal by Beatriz in the 48th minute meaning the Canarinhas won 4-0.

Brazil will be one of the team’s to look out for during the tournament, with their strength and skills unmatched in the clash.

Their football queen and record holder of the most World Cup goals, Marta, did not start on the field but the team proved they could get ahead without her.

She did come on in the second half of the game, exciting fans who started chanting “Marta, Marta, Marta”.

All eyes are now on Brazil’s next game against France — who drew with Jamaica earlier in the week — this Saturday, where it is expected Marta will be on the starting side with hopes to increase her World Cup record and become the first player, male or female, to score at six different World Cups.

Today’s Women’s World Cup schedule (AEST)

12pm: Colombia v South Korea in Sydney

3.30pm: New Zealand v Philippines in Wellington

6pm: Switzerland v Norway in Hamilton