The Jamaican women have bowed out of the World Cup losing by a single goal to a tough Colombian side, who now go on to face European Champions England in Saturday’s quarter-final.
The South American’s captain, Catalina Usme, scored the winner early in the second half and despite a spirited effort by the Caribbean nation to get back on terms, they couldn’t find that moment of quality to force the equaliser.
Jamaica can be very proud however, they eliminated Brazil and went an astonishing five hours and 22 minutes before conceding their only goal in the tournament.
They have represented the entire Caribbean region wonderfully well, and earned the respect of the rest of the football world.
All sorts of records for the Jamaicans
This was Jamaica’s first ever knockout appearance at a women’s World Cup, and the first Caribbean nation to play in the advanced stages of any form of World Cup – male or female – since Cuba did it in 1938. They also became only the third side from the CONCACAF region to reach this point in the competition, after USA and Canada.
Concern at lack of goal penetration
Prior to kick off the Reggae Girlz manager, Lorne Donaldson, admitted lack of goals were something of a concern, they had built their progress in the tournament on solid defence and that is great for as long as it continues, but in the knock out stages unless a team plays for penalties, goals are vital… and so it would prove.
Changes to both sides
They made two changes from the side which drew with the Brazilians. Both were in midfield, with Atlanta Primus and Cheyna Matthews dropping to the bench and being replaced by Trudi Carter and Kalyssa Van Zanten.
The Colombians, who famously defeated Germany in their group with a memorable injury time winner, also made two changes to their starting line up from the previous game, bringing in 18-year-old Ana Maria Guzman and Diana Ospina Garcia, for the suspended Manuela Vanegas and veteran Daniela Montoya.
Jamaica just shade first half
It didn’t take long for it to become clear that Jamaica’s shining light Bunny Shaw was going to be in for a difficult evening. She was closed down by three or four opposition players every time she got in possession and started to receive some bruising treatment.
Nevertheless, for the first 30 minutes it was Jamaica who were playing the better football. Towards the end of the half the South Americans started to look a little brighter, but the first period came to a close with neither team really threatening.
Colombia step things up to take lead
The second half began with Colombia looking to have more urgency in their play and they promptly took the lead on 51 minutes. It was created by a fantastic diagonal ball from teenager Guzman which found her skipper Usme, who had got the wrong side of the defence. Her first touch was brilliant and her second found the corner of the net with a classy finish.
Remarkably it was the first goal Jamaica had conceded in over five hours of World Cup football – not bad for a team which some so called experts were predicting would be on the end of five and six goal thrashings in the group games.
Two fantastic chances to draw level
The Reggea Girlz pressed for an equaliser and should have got it when Jody Brown found herself free just four yards from goal, but inexplicably headed against the post and the chance was gone.
There was one more excellent opportunity when after superb work down the right hand side by substitute Tiffany Cameron, her perfectly weighted cross found Drew Spence, but the Tottenham forward could only direct her header down into the ground and the ball skidded just wide.
That would prove to be the last real chance and sadly Jamaica’s cup dream was over.
Jamaicans have done everybody proud
They have however, been an absolute credit to themselves, their country, and the Caribbean as a whole. They deserve every bit of praise and respect that will undoubtedly come their way.
Colombia now go on to face England in a tasty looking quarter-final tie, to be played on Saturday 12 August, at Stadium Australia in Sydney.