Jamaica ensured there would be no fairytale ending to Marta’s World Cup career as they strangled Brazil 0-0 to reach the last 16 on Wednesday and condemn the South Americans to their earliest exit since 1995.
It was heartbreak for the legendary Brazilian attacker Marta, who at age 37 has said this would be her last World Cup.
But it was joy for a Jamaica team who are yet to concede at the tournament and are into the knockout rounds for the first time in their history.
Lorne Donaldson’s unbeaten side will most likely meet Colombia next.
Brazil had to win to be sure of going through, whereas Jamaica needed only to draw.
So it was little surprise that it was the South Americans who had far the better of the first half in Melbourne.
In front of a crowd of nearly 28,000, Brazil had more of the ball and attempts at goal — Jamaica had none on target all game to Brazil’s five.
But for all that and with Marta starting, Jamaica were never really in serious trouble at any point in the game.
Jamaica, who held France 0-0 before getting their first-ever World Cup win with a 1-0 victory over Panama, were defending deep and in numbers.
Pia Sundhage’s Brazil, who have never won the World Cup, looked short of ideas as they went to the break goalless.
The second half was more of the same but Brazil were struggling to really create a golden chance.
Khadija Shaw, the prolific Manchester City striker and Jamaica’s undoubted star, was hardly seen as an attacking force.
Into the last 20 minutes and Jamaica showed few signs of buckling, as Brazil simply ran out of steam and ideas.
Jamaica’s achievement, having lost all three games in their debut World Cup in 2019, is all the more remarkable considering the tensions behind the scenes.
Defender Allyson Swaby said last week that making an impact at the tournament would send a message to the country’s football bosses that the women’s team deserve better treatment.
Donaldson’s team has been in open dispute with their football federation over a lack of support, including issues over pay and poor planning in the build-up to the World Cup.
World Cup News
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday blasted as “insufficient” the apology given by...
Spain’s Women’s World Cup hero Olga Carmona paid tribute to her father on Monday...
Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso defended Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales after he came...
Sunday’s World Cup final between England and Spain is the final act of a...