Goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer says Jamaica’s historic run into the knockout stages of the World Cup will put pressure on football bosses at home to take the women’s team seriously.
The Reggae Girlz dished up a defensive masterclass to get the point they needed against Brazil to reach the last 16 in Melbourne on Wednesday.
The 0-0 draw saw ninth-ranked Brazil dumped out of the tournament in the group stage, their poorest performance since an exit at the same early stage in 1995.
Lorne Donaldson’s 51st-ranked Jamaica have defied turbulent preparations to reach the last 16 for the first time.
The team have 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.
“Obviously we fight a constant battle,” said the London-born Spencer, saying the players felt they had “a point to prove”.
“The better we do, the more pressure it creates (on the Jamaica federation).
“We hope that they’re looking at us and taking us seriously now, which they should have been doing, and they can give us what we deserve out of everything.”
Jamaica’s next opponents will be the winners of Group H, to be determined later Thursday.
Colombia top that group ahead of the final round of games.
After strangling the life out of a disappointing Brazil and their legendary striker Marta, the Jamaica players celebrated with shouts of “We told you”.
“We feel like we’ve been hugely underestimated,” said Spencer, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur.
One of the players’ gripes leading into the World Cup was their federation’s failure to arrange friendly matches to help preparations.
“Obviously with the noise that was going on outside of us playing and the lack of matches that we had leading into the tournament, I don’t think anyone took us seriously,” the 32-year-old said.
“Like I said, as players and staff, we know that we’ve got a real togetherness and a family feel within our group. We were resilient.”
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...