Colombia set up a Women’s World Cup quarter-final against England with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Reggae Girlz of Jamaica.
Catalina Usme, Columbia’s captain in Melbourne, scored the winning goal in the 51st minute.
It was the first goal Jamaica conceded in 321 minutes, but they could not find an answer. This is the first time that Colombia has reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup.
The two teams meet European champions England at the Sydney Australian Stadium on Saturday, starting at 11:30 am GMT.
It was Melbourne’s last World Cup match, and the rectangular stadium has claimed many traditional names in women’s football.
Olympic champion Canada was knocked down by host Australia, Brazilian icon Marta watched her World Cup dreams go up in smoke and suffered the humiliation of undefeated four-time world champion the United States.
This match is about a new generation, two teams that are rewriting football history.
Both seemed to be affected by chances early on, with the first half being riddled with more fouls than shots. The clearest chance of the first half came in the 38th minute, when Linda Caicedo took a 6-yard corner kick.
But this young and dynamic side of Colombia is hard to contain. And while Caicedo grabbed the headlines at this tournament, it was another 18-year-old who pulled off the win.
Ana Maria Guzmán made her World Cup debut in place of suspended full-back Manuela Vanegas.
And the absence of Fanegas, who scored the winning goal against Germany, made the Colombian media very nervous before the match.
But not to worry because Guzman delivered a magical moment, a great deep cross from the left that Usmi volleyed in and buried in the far corner.
Colombia should have held the game, but Jamaican goalkeeper Becky Spencer saved Kesido on a counterattack before Leicey Santos hit the post.
While a lot of attention has been given to Colombia, Caicedo and his teammates, Jamaican’s impressive World Cup is built on their solid defence.
In their first appearance in 2019, they conceded 12 goals in 3 matches. In 2023, they entered this match as the only team not to have conceded a goal yet.
As the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup since Cuba in 1938, and the only CONCACAF representative to leave after the eliminations of Canada and the United States, they have not allowed Colombia to build up attacking speed easily.
Drew Spence infuriated the partisan Colombian fans, who made up the vast majority of the crowd in Melbourne, when she brought down Caicedo late in the first half, as the former England international received a yellow card.
But Jamaica struggled to be creative, with striker Khadijah Shaw – who scored 31 goals in 30 appearances for Manchester City last season – eating the crumbs.
Their best chance came immediately after Osmi’s goal, with a header from Jody Brown from close range.
They also finished with eight minutes left in the game when Spence narrowly drove home.
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