Melbourne: Colombia reached the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals for the first time and a clash with England after a 1-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday, with France or Morocco poised to join them.
Skipper Catalina Usme scored the only goal of the game in Melbourne in the 51st minute, bringing the ball down expertly and bending it into the bottom corner.
It was the first time at the tournament that Jamaica had conceded a goal.
It set a cagey game alight and sent the pumping pro-Colombian crowd into deafening delirium.
Fired up, Jamaica almost had an immediate reply with Jody Brown’s shot cleared off the line in a frantic goalmouth scramble.
Behind for the first time at the World Cup and facing the exit door, Jamaica abandoned their defensive posture and threw players forward frantically looking for the equaliser.
Drew Spence almost grabbed it with a header that spun just wide, but Colombia held on.
They will now play European champions England in Sydney on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals.
Jamaica bow out but made history of their own, winning a World Cup game for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Panama and holding heavily fancied Brazil and France to goalless draws.
But despite boasting the prolific Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw, Jamaica’s lack of goals proved to be their undoing — they scored just one all tournament, against Panama.
It was a victory, though, of sorts in the team’s wider battle with their federation — they hope their displays will mean more support in future from Jamaican football bosses.
“Now we’re a bit low because we didn’t want to end the tournament, but I’m proud of all my teammates,” said Shaw.
“A lot of people didn’t think we were going to make it this far.
“It shows that if you believe and work hard, anything is possible.”
France ease past Morocco
Eugenie Le Sommer scored twice as France eased to a 4-0 win over Morocco on Tuesday and set up a quarter-final with co-hosts Australia.
Morocco had upset the odds to qualify for the last 16 at the expense of Germany in their debut appearance at the tournament but they never managed to lay a glove on Herve Renard’s French side in Adelaide.
Kadidiatou Diani opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark and it was 3-0 just after the midway point in the first half as Kenza Dali and Le Sommer added further goals.
Veteran striker Le Sommer, who is France’s all-time top scorer, netted again 20 minutes from time before a crowd of 13,557 as Les Bleues advanced to the last eight with a minimum of fuss.
They will now play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, with the winners of that going on to play either England or Colombia in the semi-finals.
While France are desperate to win a first major women’s international title, Morocco came into this game with the pressure off, their World Cup already a huge success.
Their coach, the former French international midfielder Reynald Pedros, named an unchanged starting line-up following the 1-0 win over Colombia that sealed their place in the knockout phase.
Renard made five changes from the France side that beat Panama 6-3, including recalling Sakina Karchaoui at left-back.
Karchaoui, whose parents are Moroccan, set up the opener with a great run down the left flank, a quick exchange of passes with Selma Bacha, and a cross for Diani to nod in.
It was Diani’s fourth goal at the tournament after her hat-trick against Panama in the final group game.
The second goal arrived in the 20th minute as Diani cut the ball back for Dali to sweep home a first-time finish in off the far post.
And it was 3-0 three minutes after that following a defensive error, with Nesryne El Chad trying to clear but only succeeding in playing the ball off Diani, who set up Le Sommer.
At that point Morocco might have feared an even heavier defeat than the 6-0 hammering they received from Germany in their first game.
However, France took their foot off the pedal after that and only scored once more.
In the 70th minute substitute Vicki Becho crossed from the right for Le Sommer to head in her 92nd international goal at the back post.