Colombia and France both won their round of 16 clashes to advance to the 2023 Women’s World Cup quarterfinals. For France, it is the fourth-straight tournament that it reached the last eight of the competition. However, this is now Colombia’s most successful tournament, as it is in this stage for the first time. The South Americans defeated Jamaica, 1-0. France cast aside Morocco with an emphatic 4-0 victory.
France, now the third-highest-ranked team in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking after the USWNT and Germany exited, is certainly among the favorites to win the entire tournament now. Led by passionate coach Herve Renard, who coached Saudi Arabia in the men’s World Cup this past November, France continued its impressive form at this tournament. Coming off a 6-3 pounding of Panama to close the group stage, France scored four more on Tuesday. Even then, the scoreline does not display French dominance.
In total, France fired 15 shots at the Moroccan net, with five of those actually getting on target. Of the four goals, the pick of the bunch was the second of a three-goal outburst in the first half. After Kadidiatou Diani opened the scoring with her fourth goal at the tournament, Kenza Dali fired in France’s second. A pinpoint first-time strike after an assist from Diani left Moroccan goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi helpless.
Eugenie Le Sommer added a third for France just three minutes later. With a massive lead, France took some of its foot off the pedal. However, with Morocco pushing forward at times, Le Sommer added France’s fourth in the second half. The side’s all-time leading scorer now sits at 92 goals with the national team. She will look to lead the line against Australia, which advanced on Monday.
Colombia joins France in quarterfinals for first time
France is used to reaching the last eight of the Women’s World Cup. The other team to secure a spot in that stage on Tuesday, Colombia, is not. In its third World Cup appearance, Colombia continues to improve. A group-stage exit in 2011 preceded the first trip to the knockout stage in 2015. Now, Colombia has a date with England to get into the semifinals of the competition.
Colombia matched up against one of the other fan favorites at this year’s competition, Jamaica. The Caribbean nation finished as runner-up to France in its group, besting Brazil for that second spot. Only one goal could separate these two teams, though. Catalina Usme’s winner early in the second half was enough to get Colombia over the line.
The Colombian captain was the first to score against Jamaica at this year’s tournament. While one goal in three group-stage games was enough to get Jamaica into the knockout rounds, it did not get the Reggae Girlz past Colombia. Both sides had opportunities in the second half. Drew Spence nearly had an equalizer. Then, not long before the final whistle, Jorelyn Carabalí hit the post for Colombia. The game finished with that narrow scoreline of 1-0.
It is the only nation from the Americas in the last eight of the Women’s World Cup. Remarkably, Colombia is only the second nation from South America to get this far in the competition. Only Brazil has reached the quarterfinals, and it has done that on four occasions. Up north, this is the first time the Women’s World Cup will not have a CONCACAF nation in the quarterfinals since 1991.
The last eight features many strong teams, including Australia, England, Spain, Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands. France will like its position, and Colombia carries the support of a boisterous crowd for each game.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Xinhua
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