We saw some thrilling encounters overnight at the Women’s World Cup, Sweden battered Italy, France overcame a strong and physical Brazil side while Jamaica beat Panama giving them a good chance of reaching the knock-out stages of a World Cup for the first time in their history.
Sweden vs Italy
Sweden built upon their narrow opening round victory over South Africa in superb style as they thrashed Italy 5-0 in Wellington. The win saw the Swedes claim back-to-back victories for the first time since 2021 and they’ve secured a place in the last 16.
Despite posing an early threat Italy couldn’t take their chances in front of goal and Sweden began growing into the game. And a late first-half collapse from the Italians saw the game go from being 0-0 to 3-0 in favour of Sweden. Both the first two goals came from corners. Two inch perfect balls into the box from Jonna Andersson found first the head of Amanda Ilestedt, then the second found Fridolina Rolfo at the back post. Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius capped off an electric end to the first half after capitalising on an Italy error in defence and she poked the ball home.
And just minutes after the restart it was soon 4-0, again through another corner from Jonna Andersson. Similarly to the first half it was Ilestedt who rose highest to head home her second goal of the game (and third of the tournament). In the closing stages Swedish substitute Rebecka Blomqvist settled the game once and for all by scoring a 5th goal. The forward showed a great turn of pace on the counterattack to break free from the Italian defenders and coolly slot the ball into the bottom corner.
France vs Brazil
In what was rumoured to be the most mouth watering fixture of this year's Women’s World Cup so far… Both France and Brazil did not disappoint in Brisbane. And in the end it was the French who just edged the tie 2-1 to boost them to top of Group F.
With both teams going for it from the off, this game looked full of energy, physicality and goals. France’s all time female record goal-scorer Eugenie Le Sommer went close in the early stages but her flicked header was scrambled away by Leticia in the Brazil goal.
However, after 17 minutes Le Sommer got her goal. Kadidiatou Diani sent a looping ball back across goal which found the lurking Le Sommer who directed her header perfectly out of reach for the keeper. 1-0 France. And despite one chance for Brazil in the first half, France looked in control going in at the break.
But in the second half, everything changed. The Brazil front line looked energised and as sharp as they did in the sides 4-0 win over Panama on day one. Their luck was soon in as Kerolina’s shot ricocheted into the path of Debinha who prodded the ball past the French keeper to draw her side back level.
After the equaliser the game opened up, both sides were creating chances and in the end it was France who inflicted the killer blow. An excellent ball in from Selma Bacha found an unmarked Wendie Renard at the far post, and the 33-year-old French captain headed the ball down and into the net. After scoring the second goal, Les Bleues were on top once again and comfortably saw out the victory.
Panama vs Jamaica
After pulling off a superb draw against France in their opening game, Jamaica boosted their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Panama.
The Jamaicans were definitely quickest out the blocks but they just couldn’t find that early breakthrough, as chance after chance was missed or superbly saved by Yenith Bailey in the Panama goal.
Towards the end of the first half Panama finally began to grow into the game and either one of the two sides could have gone in at the break 1-0 up.
Just after the break Panama looked fearless as they kept pushing for the opener however, they suffered a major setback as Jamaica took the lead through their captain Allyson Swaby, who rose highest in a crowded box to glance home Trudi Carter’s corner.
Las Canalera refused to back down without a fight and they had a couple of chances to equalise, but the Jamaicans proved once again they are at this World Cup for a reason as they repelled many of Panama’s attacks. And in the end a 1-0 scoreline was enough to send the Reggae Girlz second in group 5 with 4 points, leaving them only needing one point in their third and final game against Brazil for a place in the knockout stages.