End of a fairy tale

Reggae Girlz bring curtains down on World Cup with Solaun goal in 1-4 loss to Italy

SHERDON COWAN
AT THE 2019 FIFA
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP FINALS
In France

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Jamaica….1

Solaun (49th)

Australia….4

Kerr (11th, 42nd, 69th, 83rd)

GRENOBLE, France — All 17,402 individuals packed Stade des Alpes here in Grenoble last night collectively held their breaths as a ball left the boots of Reggae Girlz substitute Havana Solaun and slowly made its way towards goal.

Soon after the massive section of Jamaicans erupted into frenzy. Jamaica had scored its first-ever goal at a Fifa Women's World Cup.

Though the goal came in a losing 4-1 effort to highly ranked Australia, it was a minor victory for the Reggae Girlz in creating further history after battling long and hard to become the first team from the Caribbean to make an appearance on the global stage.

Solaun's 49th-minute strike came after Australian striker Sam Kerr netted in the 11th and 42nd minutes to give her team a 2-0 lead at half-time, before returning to add two more in the 69th and 83rd minutes.

That four-timer meant Kerr became the first Australian of either gender to score a World Cup hat-trick, as they sealed a round-of-16 clash with Norway by virtue of finishing second on six points.

Italy (six points) remained atop Group C despite going down 0-1 to Brazil who also ended on six points, to progress to the next round.

Jamaica finished at the foot of the standing without a point and, despite the disappointment, could consider their debut campaign here somewhat of a success.

Again the Jamaicans came out spirited, knowing very well that anything but a handsome victory would confirm their early exit from the global showpiece.

They played out a testy first 10 minutes, with some nervous moments early for the Matildas, as the Jamaicans looked to the target.

However, after 11 minutes, the Matildas struck, again when Kerr rose above the Jamaican defence top and expertly headed home a weighted cross from Emily Gielnik.

From there, the Australians were on a stroll, dominating the play, but they were never really threatening until the 26th minute when another service saw Kerr having another free header at goal, though goaltender Nicole McClure was well positioned to turn the effort over the crossbar.

Jamaica almost struck in the 41st minute through a Khadija Shaw header which just sailed wide of the right upright.

But Australia doubled the lead three minutes from the break when Katrina Gorry whipped in a tantalising ball into the path of Kerr, who was again allowed time and space to freely head past McClure.

While Australia enjoyed the success of their frequent crosses, they failed to press home an advantage and that left the door open for the Reggae Girlz to keep a foot in the game.

Four minutes into the resumption Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, who started in an attacking midfield position, muscled midfielder Emily van Egmond off the ball and played a delightful through pass to Solaun, who had earlier replaced Tiffany Cameron.

Solaun slipped around the advancing custodian Lydia Williams and finished with aplomb.

The goal injected new life into the Reggae Girlz team, who seemed well on their way to finding an equaliser with Cheyna Matthews's 51st-minute effort being parried by Williams.

Shaw went on two jaunting runs from the middle of the park in quick succession, but the final efforts both sailed wide.

In the 67th, captain Konya Plummer launched a well- taken free kick from close to the half line towards the box for Shaw to glance a header into the the overlapping Mireya Grey who took one touch too many, resulting in a tame left-footed effort.

With crosses dried up Australia seemed out of ideas to find another goal, but the Jamaicans were gracious to release the pressure as they failed to clear their lines from a corner and Kerr comfortably finished from close range.

And the writing was on the wall when goalkeeper McClure picked up a back pass from Plummer and mishit an attempt to play wide to Allyson Swaby, which allowed Kerr to rush in and easily finish in an empty net.

Teams

Jamaica - Nicole McClure, Konya Plummer, Allyson Swaby, Sashana Campbell, Deneisha Blackwood, Toriana Patterson, Chantelle Swaby, Khadija Shaw, Cheyna Matthews(Trudi Carter 58th), Tiffany Cameron (Havana Solaun 46th), Mireya Grey(Jody Brown 72nd)

Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Yazmeen Jamieson, Lauren Silver, Chanel Hudson-Marks, Chinyelu Asher, Ashleigh Shim, Marlo Sweatman, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Olufolasade Adamolekun

Booked: Plummer (71st)

Australia - Lydia Williams, Karly Roestbakken, Chloe Logarzo, Steph Catley, Emily Van Egmond, Lisa De Vanna(Hayley Raso 63rd), Alanna Kennedy, Emily Gielnik(Caitlin Foord 58th), Katrina Gorry(Alvi Luik 87th), Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter

Subs not used: Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah, Gema Simon, Elise Kellond-Knight, Mary Fowler Amy Harrison, Teigen Allen, Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Yallop

Booked: Van Egmond (75th)

Referee: Katalin Kulcsar (HUN)

Assistant referees: Katalin Torok (HUN); Sanja Rodak (CRO)

Fourth official: Jana Adamkova (CZE)

Match commissary: Susanne Erlandsson (SWE)


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