Jamaica knocks out Brazil, reaches last 16 of World Cup for first time
MELBOURN–A courageous Jamaica held Brazil to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday to reach the knockout phase for the first time in only their second Women’s World Cup while condemning the South Americans to their earliest exit since 1995.
Needing a point to go through, the Reggae Girlz barely threatened to score but were tight in defense, repelling wave after wave of Brazilian attacks in a frenetic atmosphere at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
At the final whistle, the overwhelmed Jamaicans slumped to their knees and roared in joy before forming a circle to dance and sway to the Bob Marley song “One Love”.
Having lost all their matches in France four years ago, the Jamaicans have coming a long way in a short time, holding France 0-0 and beating Panama 1-0 in their Group F clashes.
It was a tough night for Brazil.
Their coach Pia Sundhage started Marta on the field for the first time in her sixth and final World Cup but the iconic forward bowed out in disappointment, coming off in the 80th minute.
Her touch was missing early. She fired a shot into a defender in the fourth minute and then wasted another chance seven minutes later with a heavy touch, leaving an unmarked Ary Borges fuming at the far post.
Running towards goal, Borges finally had her chance when Luana found her with a cross but the playmaker steered her header well wide in the 24th minute.
Borges then set Tamires up with a delightful cross into the inside-left channel late in the half but she thumped a volley straight at goalkeeper Becky Spencer.
Jamaica rode their luck to halftime and Brazil’s desperation grew after the break as their attacks came to nothing.
Jamaicans hearts were in mouths in the 79th minute when defender Allyson Swaby nearly put the ball into her own net with a terrible attempted clearance that forced Spencer into a fine save at the far post.
In search of a goal, the Brazilians exposed themselves to the counter-attack and Khadija Shaw all but made them pay.
Needing only the keeper to beat, she blazed just over the bar in the 82nd minute.
Brazil had one last chance in a final-minute goal-mouth scramble but Debinha headed straight to the keeper, allowing the Jamaicans to celebrate arguably their finest moment in international football.