In a remarkable display of courage, Jamaica held Brazil to a goalless draw, securing their place in the knockout phase for the first time in only their second Women’s World Cup appearance. This result also led to Brazil’s earliest exit from the tournament since 1995.
Despite needing just a point to advance, the Reggae Girlz didn’t threaten to score much, but their defence was resolute, successfully repelling numerous Brazilian attacks in a thrilling match at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Brazil’s coach, Pia Sundhage, decided to start Marta on the field for the first time in her sixth World Cup, but the legendary forward couldn’t make a significant impact and left the field disappointed. Early on, Marta’s touch seemed off, missing a shot that hit a defender in the fourth minute, and later wasting another opportunity with a heavy touch. Her unmarked teammate, Ary Borges, was frustrated at the far post.
As the game progressed, Jamaica’s defence held firm, and Brazil’s desperation grew as their attacks failed to break through. Jamaica had some nervous moments, particularly when defender Allyson Swaby nearly scored an own goal, but goalkeeper Becky Spencer made an excellent save at the far post to keep them level.
Jamaica’s unbeaten side, led by coach Lorne Donaldson, will likely face Colombia in the next round.
In another group match, France secured a spot in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup in a thrilling 6-3 encounter against Panama. Kadidiatou Diani’s hat-trick played a crucial role in France’s comeback after Panama stunned them with a goal just 67 seconds into the match. Marta Cox’s wonder strike from a free-kick gave Panama their first-ever World Cup goal, leaving France initially reeling, but they displayed a polished recovery to secure a decisive victory.
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