News Americas, MELBOURNE, Australia, Tues. Aug. 8, 2023: Tears were shed today as Jamaica’s story book Reggae Girlz rise in women’s soccer world cup history was stopped by Colombia in the Round of 16 match at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Colombia’s victory over Jamaica was secured by a crucial second-half goal from Catalina Usme, leading them to a 1-0 win and a historic spot in the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals. The match at the packed Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday witnessed a frenzy of excitement among Colombian fans as many of the Girlz cried openly.
Up until halftime, the game had been tense and physical, but it truly came to life after Usme’s breakthrough in the 51st minute. This marked the first time Jamaica’s defense had been breached in the entire World Cup, prompting both teams to attack relentlessly.
The “Reggae Girlz” of Jamaica fought hard and had opportunities to level the match, but eventually bowed out of the tournament with a valiant effort, having made it to the knockout phase in their second World Cup appearance.
Jamaica’s solid defense had kept Colombia’s talented player Linda Caicedo quiet on the left flank for most of the game, forcing the South Americans to wait until the 38th minute for their first decent scoring chance, which unfortunately went wasted.
Referee Kate Jacewicz had to intervene due to Jamaica’s physical play, issuing yellow cards to defender Chantelle Swaby and midfielder Drew Spence just before halftime.
It was Usme’s brilliance that broke the deadlock, as she skillfully maneuvered past Jamaica’s defender Deneisha Blackwood and scored a well-placed, left-footed strike inside the far post.
Jamaica had a golden opportunity to equalize three minutes later when Blackwood’s corner found Jody Brown in front of the goal, but Brown’s header hit the base of the left post.
As the regulation time dwindled, Jamaica desperately pressed forward, trying to find the equalizer. Drew Spence came close to scoring with a header in the 82nd minute, but it narrowly missed the left post, allowing Colombia to hold firm until the final whistle.
Despite the disappointment of not scoring in the World Cup, Jamaica’s attacking force Khadija Shaw, known for her impressive record at Manchester City, remained positive in a post-game interview, acknowledging that progress is being made in women’s football.
“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.”