By Editor-Tuesday, August 2nd, 2023.
A never-day-die Jamaica restricted Brazil to a scoreless draw to reach the knockout phase for the first time in only their second entry into the Women’s World Cup while relegating the South American powerhouse to their earliest exit for almost 20 years.
Needing a point to go through, the Reggae Girlz barely threatened to score but were tight in defence, repelling wave after wave of Brazilian attacks in a frenetic atmosphere at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Brazil coach Pia Sundhage started Marta on the field for the first time in her sixth World Cup but the iconic forward bowed out in disappointment.
Her touch was missing early. She fired a shot into a defender in the fourth minute and then wasted another chance seven minutes later with a heavy touch, leaving an unmarked Ary Borges fuming at the far post.
Running towards goal, Borges finally had her chance when Luana found her with a cross but the playmaker steered her header well wide in the 24th minute.
Borges then set Tamires up with a delightful cross into the inside-left channel late in the half but she thumped a volley straight at goalkeeper Becky Spencer.
Jamaica rode their luck to half-time and Brazil’s desperation grew after the break as their attacks came to nothing.
Jamaicans’ hearts were in mouths in the 79th minute when defender Allyson Swaby nearly put the ball into her own net with a terrible attempted clearance that forced Spencer into a fine save at the far post.
Lorne Donaldson’s unbeaten side will most likely meet Colombia next.
Elsewhere in the group, Kadidiatou Diani scored a hat-trick as France marched into the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup in a 6-3 thriller against Panama, who stunned them with a goal in the opening minute.
It was a polished recovery after Marta Cox’s wonder strike on 67 seconds left the world number five team reeling, swerving a free kick into the corner from 30 yards for her country’s first-ever World Cup goal.
Source: News agencies.