MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Colombia bruised its way into its first ever Women’s World Cup quarterfinal behind a Catalina Usme goal Tuesday for a 1-0 win over Jamaica.
Both teams were aiming for a first victory in the knockout stage, with the winner moving on to a historic first trip to the last eight at the global tournament.
It was Colombia, a team that didn’t even qualify for the 2019 tournament, and 18-year-old star Linda Caciedo that prevailed.
Caciedo didn’t score, but the Real Madrid rising star created opportunities and tested a Jamaica defense that didn’t concede a goal in the group stage.
Colombia will face European champion England on Saturday at Stadium Australia in Sydney. England advanced on penalties after a scoreless draw with Nigeria on Monday night.
Usme yelled in celebration after trapping a long pass from Ana Guzman and calmly finishing in the 52nd minute.
Las Cafeteras, making their third World Cup appearance, also reached the Round of 16 in 2015 but were stopped in a 2-0 loss to the United States.
The match at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium was an anticipated showdown between Jamaican Khadija “Bunny” Shaw and Colombia’s Caicedo. In the end, though, it was Usme’s emphatic goal that made the difference.
Shaw was an attacking force with Manchester City last season, scoring 20 goals in 22 league games, but she went into the match scoreless at the World Cup.
“We just have to be proud of our performance and lift our heads up,” Shaw said in a post-game television interview. “The gap is closing.”
The Reggae Girlz had just one goal in the group stage, Allyson Swaby’s header in a 1-0 victory over Panama, while Shaw sat out of that match because of a red card in the opener against France.
Caicedo, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 15, had a pair of goals in the opening round amid questions about her fitness. She was seen dropping to the ground during a practice session earlier in the tournament but played the entirety of Colombia’s 1-0 loss against Morocco in its group final on Thursday.
After defeating South Korea in its World Cup opener, Colombia upset Germany 2-1 before falling to upstart Morocco in its group finale. Colombia became just the second South American team to top its group, joining Brazil.
Jamaica’s defense held title contenders France and Brazil scoreless in the opening round, helping to push the Reggae Girlz through to the knockout stage. The Jamaicans lost every game at the 2019 tournament, their only other appearance.
Colombia had more chances in the first half but Jamaica’s stout defense held and the match was scoreless at the break.
There was a scary moment when Jamaica’s Trudi Carter was hit hard in the face by the ball in the 21st minute but she returned.
Jamaica goalkeeper Becky Spencer was able to punch away Usme’s cross in the 29th. Caicedo sent the ball over the goal with a chance in the 38th.
Jamaica’s Drew Spence was shown a yellow late in the half with a tackle on Caicedo, after Chantelle Swaby was booked.
Spence nearly scored on a header in the 82nd but it went just wide. She raised her hands to her face in disbelief over the missed chance to even the game.
Colombia was without Manuela Vanegas because of yellow card accumulation. Guzman, who like Caicedo is 18, replaced her.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/fifa-womens-world-cup