Jamaica qualified for the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup for the first time as Brazil went out of the competition in disappointing fashion, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
It was a cagey encounter in Melbourne and Jamaica put in a stubborn defensive display to ensure their impressive tournament still has another chapter. The Reggae Girlz navigated Group F without conceding after a 0-0 draw.
A must-win situation for Brazil saw the South American side fly forward from the outset. Yet, low strikes from Marta, Adriana and Tamires inside the opening 20 minutes were all held comfortably by Becky Spencer, who added to her World Cup high of nine saves. A stubborn Jamaican side that kept three consecutive clean sheets continued to frustrate Brazil. Although crucial chances eventually came before half time when As Canarinhas’ World Cup top scorer, Ary Borges headered over from close range and Tamires’s first-time volley inside the penalty area was repelled once again by Spencer.
The same pattern followed after the break as Brazil resumed possession and looked to avoid a first goalless WWC group outing for the first time since 1991. Tame efforts from Kerolin and Luana Bertolucci, and a string of wasted corners did little to threaten a rock-solid Reggae Girlz back line. In the closing stages, Brazil were almost punished for their lack of cutting edge as Khadija Shaw burst forward and fired over the crossbar from 18-yards.
Defence was key for Jamaica’s success yet again as the Caribbean side, backed superbly by Spencer in goal, are just one of three sides yet to concede at the World Cup – an approach that will give the Reggae Girlz confidence heading into the final 16. Despite scoring in 23 successive World Cupgroup matches prior to this clash, Brazil came up short when it mattered most as the Canarinhas failed to progress to the knockout rounds for the first time since 1995.