Connect with us

2023 Women's World Cup

Round of 16, Day 4: Colombian captain fires her team into quarterfinals over Jamaica, France overwhelms Morocco and advances

Richard Callis / SPP

The fourth and final day of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Round of 16 started with Colombia beating Jamaica while France taking on Morocco will round out the day.

Couldn’t watch and need to know what the big story is? This is what happened on the fourth day of the World Cup Round of 16.

Want even more women’s sports coverage?

Subscribers to The Equalizer save 50% on their subscription to our partner publication, The IX. This newsletter has experts covering the latest news in women’s soccer, tennis, basketball, golf, hockey and gymnastics. Each sport has its own day, which means you’ll receive The IX in your inbox six days a week.

Colombia 1, Jamaica 0

The Big Story: Regardless of who moved on, it would be the first time either country made it to the quarterfinals in a World Cup. After losing to the United States in their first time in a Round of 16 match back in 2015, Colombia punched their ticket to a quarterfinals face-off with England with a 1-0 win over Jamaica.

The Big Moment: Jamaica came into the knockouts as the last team who hadn’t yet conceded (Japan came in that way as well but conceded against Norway in their Round of 16 match). Colombia broke Jamaica’s shutout streak when in the 51st minute Catalina Usme’s left-footed shot found netting.

What it means: The first half began with a solid game of pinball between the boxes. Neither team was able to fully build the way they wanted without a physical press interrupting it and recovering the ball. A true battle in the midfield, referee Kate Jacewicz was not calling much in terms of fouls, with the first of the night not coming until the 20th minute.

Colombia’s counter-press led to multiple chances but they were unable to get the ball past Jamaican goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer in their seven shots. Jamaica narrowly won possession in the half but was unable to get a shot off after the 3rd minute until stoppage time. Colombia definitely looked the more dangerous of the two throughout the first half.

Jamaica immediately responded to the Colombian goal by earning a dangerous free kick that required a goal-line clearance by a Colombian defender. On the counterattack to that set piece, Linda Caicedo got on a breakaway but some phenomenal goalkeeping from Spencer kept the score at 1-0. Jamaica was able to get into the Colombian final third a bit more in the second half, but the Colombian defense of their box stayed true.

It was Jamaica’s first loss of the tournament that sent them home, a stark difference from their three-loss World Cup debut in 2019. Their defense held firm against powerhouses France and Brazil and is something that will continue to be dangerous in the years to come. The Caribbean side did only score one goal across the four games in this World Cup, and missing Bunny Shaw due to suspension didn’t help that. But looking forward, once Jamaica can pair their defense with some more goalscoring, they will find themselves moving further in the tournament. It is important to note that the dramatic difference between the 2019 and 2023 World Cup really comes down to the players and their drive, in spite of a lack of support from the Jamaican Football Federation.

Colombia will face off against England in the quarterfinals Saturday, August 12 at 6:30 am ET.

— Taylor Vincent

France 4, Morocco 0

The Big Story: It may have taken France 15 minutes to score against their round of 16 opponent Morocco, but Les Bleus dominated the game from the first whistle. France’s 4-0 defeat of Morocco will send the last remaining African team home, while Les Bleus advance to a quarterfinal face-off with host team Australia. 

The Big Moment: France’s four goals were produced by a combination of pretty much the same attacking trio: Kadidiatou Diani, Kenza Dali, and Eugenie Le Sommer. Although they do not play in an attacking line – Diani is the striker up top, Le Sommer the attacking midfielder, and Dali the right midfielder – all four goals and nearly every attacking threat came from a combination of these three. The goal that specifically cemented France’s lead in the game was the second one in the 20th minute, when Diani found Dali, who found the far post. The goal happened so quickly that the Moroccan defenders barely had time to react, much less move their feet. This goal shifted the vibe of Tuesday night’s game. France was no longer off to a strong start – they were dominating.

What it means: France never faced a real challenge throughout its entire match against Morocco. A handful of Les Bleus’ starters who were benched for rest in its final group stage game against Panama, like Le Sommer, Dali, and center back Wendie Renard, were back on the pitch on Tuesday and fully energized. And frankly, they made defeating Morocco look easy. 

Morocco’s accomplishments in this World Cup so far are historic – they are only the second African team to make it to the knockout round in its debut year.  They are not, however, knocking on the door quite yet. Throughout the match, Morocco’s defense was filled with holes and gaps, and it is likely that the Atlas Lionesses’ defensive communication broke down during many of Les Bleus’ goals, as they often looked frozen or caught on their back heels. The Atlas Lionesses did have a few chances, especially in the beginning of the second half, but they finished the match with only one shot on goal and about 25% possession overall.

Looking back, France’s tournament did not get off to an entirely reassuring start. Les Bleus were able to finish on top in the group stages, and defeated Brazil 2-1 in a crucial match, but their 0-0 tie with Jamaica, a relatively novice team, posed the question of whether they would always be able to rise to the moment. But France dominated nearly every minute of Tuesday night’s match, and its attacking combination of Diani, Dali, and Le Sommer was nothing short of lethal. The French seem to be coming together right in time for a quarterfinal match against hosts Australia on Saturday, August 12.

— Julie Schreiber

Your account


More in 2023 Women's World Cup