Melbourne, Aug 2: In a courageous and historic performance, Jamaica’s women’s football team achieved a remarkable feat on Wednesday, by holding Brazil to a goalless draw in Melbourne.
This result secured Jamaica’s qualification to the knockout phase for the first time in only their second appearance at the Women’s World Cup.
At the same time, the draw dealt a significant blow to Brazil, who faced their earliest elimination from the tournament since 1995.
Throughout the match, Jamaica’s focus was on tight defense, and they managed to thwart numerous attacking efforts from the South American powerhouse.
Despite not posing significant threats in the attacking third, the Reggae Girlz showed immense resilience and determination, withstanding wave after wave of Brazilian attacks in the intense atmosphere of the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Brazil’s coach, Pia Sundhage, decided to start iconic forward
Marta on the field for the first time in her sixth World Cup. However, Marta’s impact was limited, and she couldn’t find the desired touch early on. Her missed chances and an unmarked Ary Borges’ frustration at a wasted opportunity reflected Brazil’s struggles to break the deadlock.
As the game progressed into the second half, Brazil’s desperation grew, but they failed to convert their attacking play into goals.
On the other hand, Jamaica had their hearts in their mouths when defender Allyson Swaby almost scored an own goal in the 79th minute, but goalkeeper Becky Spencer came to the rescue with a fine save at the far post.
Jamaica’s achievement of reaching the knockout phase against all odds marks a moment of pride for their team and their country, while Brazil will have to regroup and reflect on their early exit from the competition.
The match was a display of determination, passion, and the unpredictable nature of football on the grand stage of the Women’s World Cup.
Sweden beat Argentina 2-0 in Women’s World Cup
Sweden have set up a mouth-watering last-16 meeting with holders USA after beating Argentina 2-0 to top Group G with an unblemished record here on Wednesday.
Peter Gerhardsson made nine changes to his starting XI but his second string still proved too strong for their South American opponents, securing a deserved win through Rebecka Blomqvist’s header and a late Elin Rubensson penalty.
This wasn’t a classic FIFA Women’s World Cup encounter by any means, but the Swedes produced the game’s few moments of genuine quality, with the lively Madelen Janogy particularly dangerous.
Olivia Schough was among the other Swedes to be given her chance to impress, and she enjoyed the best two chances of a forgettable first half, curling a free-kick into the keeper’s arms before heading wastefully wide at the end of a flowing team move.
Sofia Jakobsson was among the more familiar faces introduced to Gerhardsson’s line-up and, despite a frustrating match overall, a flash of her well-established qualities set up Sweden’s opener. The veteran winger skipped away from her marker, delivered an inch-perfect cross and Blomqvist, timing her run to perfection, bulleted the ball home.
Blomqvist was also heavily involved when the lead was doubled as the clock ticked down, earning the penalty from which Rubensson struck one of the most precise spot-kicks seen at these finals.
Sweden duly finished top of their section, and emerged with a perfect group-stage record, for just the second time at a Women’s World Cup. They will now look forward to a meeting with a US side they destroyed 3-0 when the teams last met in a competitive match at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.
(ToI With Reuters inputs/Agencies)