Jamaica and Haiti kicked off their World Cup campaigns at the weekend and although neither were able to find a win in their respective games, both of them can be very pleased with their opening performances.
The Reggae Girlz will be thrilled with their goalless draw they managed against much-fancied France, and in doing so they have already gone better than in their Women’s World Cup debut in 2019, at which they lost all three matches.
They now know that a win against Panama in their next fixture will give them a fantastic chance of progressing to the last sixteen.
Despite slipping to a 1-0 defeat the Haitian women will take great encouragement from the way they pushed European champions England all the way in their first game, losing only to a twice taken penalty,with the result likely to ensure that if the other teams in their group were going to underestimate them before, they certainly will not be doing so now.
“Best result in history”
The Jamaican’s manager Lorne Donaldson described the result against the French as the “the number one result” in his country’s football history – men or women. His side remained disciplined throughout as they were roared on by all the neutrals in the crowd, at the Sydney Football Stadium.
They did suffer a blow when captain Khadija Shaw was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence after a clumsy challenge, but they held out.
Huge encouragement for the Haitian women
Haiti gave England a mighty scare with an impressive performance that had their opponents rattled on numerous occasions. A handball by Batcheba Louis was picked up by VAR, but goalkeeper Kerly Theus guessed the right way and pushed Georgia Stanway’s spot-kick away.
Unfortunately, the referee was immediately alerted that the keeper had left her line early and ordered the penalty to be retaken. The same player stepped up again and made no mistake second time around.
Nevertheless, the English knew they had been in a game and it took several brilliant saves from their goalkeeper Mary Earps to prevent a real upset.
With Melchie Dumornay showing off her immense talent, the Haiti girls will have gained massive confidence to take into to their next matches against China and Denmark.
Chances to progress
It is fair to say that both Nations did themselves proud and will have gained a considerable number of additional fans through their performances and each will feel that a place in the knock-out rounds is not beyond them.