Despite being semi-finalists in the previous year’s European Championship, the French team struggled to execute their fluid passing game due to the relentless pressure imposed by the Jamaican players. This resilient performance allowed Jamaica to secure their first-ever World Cup point after facing three defeats in their debut tournament in 2019.
In the 90th minute, forward Kadidiatou Diani came agonisingly close to clinching the victory for France with a powerful header, only to see her effort hit the crossbar and then the post before bouncing out.
The near-miss led to jubilation among the Jamaican supporters in the crowd of nearly 40,000, as their team held on to secure a hard-fought draw against a strong French side.
Fifth ranked France take on Brazil in the match that was expected to decide Group F in Brisbane on Saturday, while Jamaica will face Panama in Perth later the same day without striker Khadija Shaw, who was dismissed in stoppage time.
It looked like the game might be robbed of its two biggest names when France skipper Wendie Renard and Shaw clashed heads in the opening few minutes.
Both returned to the pitch after brief medical attention, however, and Shaw was soon causing the French plenty of problems with her direct running and physicality.
France were struggling to get their passing game going because of Jamaica’s hard press and the Reggae Girlz had the better of the early exchanges.
The French put together the first move of any quality in the 36th minute with forward Diani set free to draw a save out of Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer, who was again at full stretch to deny Renard at the ensuing corner.
Shaw hammered a free kick wide of the post in the 42nd minute in Jamaica’s best chance of the first half and a deflected Diani effort flashed wide in stoppage time before the break.
France gradually imposed themselves on the game in the second half and Diani and midfielder Sandie Toletti both had chances before the hour mark but neither bothered Spencer.
Diani steered another header wide in the 66th minute and Eugenie Le Sommer drew another save out of Spencer 10 minutes later as the rain cascaded down on the Sydney Football Stadium.
Outstanding left back Deneisha Blackwood led the way as Jamaica kept to their task, however, and held on as the French lofted cross after cross into their box in a frenetic finish.
Shaw, who had been a constant thorn in France’s side, was sent off for a tackle on Renard deep in the France half, her second yellow card offence of the match.
(With Reuters Inputs)
#France #held #Jamaica #Womens #World #Cup #Football #News