The Women’s World Cup Round of 16 rolled into its final day seeing two nations playing for their first-ever knockout round win, and a favorite take on a true Cinderella story! Colombia took on Jamaica, and France played Morroco. Who would make it to the quarterfinals? Let’s take a look back on day four of the knockout rounds!
Women’s World Cup: Round of 16 Day 4
Colombia secure first-ever knockout round win over Jamaica
Coming into the knockout rounds, one thing was clear. There would be a first-time knockout winner in the match between Colombia and Jamaica. The two nations had been underdogs that punched above their weight at this tournament. Colombia beat Germany; Jamaica drew both France and Brazil. These nations came into a win-or-go-home match already having overcome the odds, but one of the two nations was able to capitalize on that freedom to win this game.
Colombia was the better attacking team in this match. Their ability to hold the ball and find the right pass forward had them knocking on the door early in the match, but Jamaica’s great defensive structure repelled them at every turn. Jamaica’s lone attacking threat, Bunny Shaw, was isolated up top and was relied on to start and finish attacks. After a first half that was scoreless, it felt like the long it stayed that way, the more Jamaica might find their way into this match.
In the second half that thought quickly disappeared, as Colombia came out flying. They dominated the ball and created attacks left and right for the first few minutes of the second half. Just six minutes after the second half kicked off, Colombia had the all-important goal. Ana Guzman hit an inch-perfect cross-field pass to find the foot of Catalina Usme in the Jamaica box. Usme was able to cushion the ball down and fire a shot that sent Colombia into pandemonium.
The remaining 39 minutes of the match were wide open. Jamaica opened up their defensive shape a bit more trying to push numbers forward to get the tying goal. They came close a few times, but could not get the ball to cross the line. The match would end 1-0 in favor of Colombia. They move on to face England in the quarterfinals, while Jamaica saw their historic World Cup come to an end.
France score four past tournament Cinderella Morocco
France has been a bit of a sleeping giant at this World Cup despite having won two matches and drawing one in the group stage. They never really kicked things into high-flying gear, and they looked to do so against this World Cup’s Cinderella, Morocco. Morocco began a women’s program not too long ago with the hope of qualifying for the African Cup of Nations. They did that and got third place in that tournament which qualified them for the World Cup. On top of that they defied all odds by getting out of their group to make the knockout stages!
As the game began, it was clear that Morocco’s game plan was to be very compact and not allow France to get a goal in the first half. This is a good thought, the longer you can frustrate the favorites the more they might expose space that you can exploit. However, France’s quality on the ball was enough to render that plan null and void. In the 15th minute, France created some great attacking play down the left side. Sakina Karchaoui sent in a great cross that found an unmarked Kadidiatou Diani who headed home the chance. The floodgates opened for France after that.
Five minutes after their first goal, France had a second. After Morroco’s defense was mesmerized by Eugénie Le Sommer, Kenza Dali was left wide open for a tap-in goal. In the 23rd minute, Le Sommer got in on the action and scored her own goal. It was 3-0 in the blink of an eye, and Morocco couldn’t cope at all. France would keep the pressure on heading into the second half as well.
Le Sommer found her second goal of the match in the 70th minute. Vicki Becho did brilliant work to get open and find the perfect cross to Le Sommer who was able to head the chance home. It was 4-0 and that was how the match would end. France moves on to play co-hosts Australia in the quarterfinals, while Morocco’s Cinderella run comes to an end, but this won’t be a one-hit-wonder at a World Cup for the Atlas Lionesses!
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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/James Elsby & AP Photo/Hamish Blair