Jamaica and South Africa make World Cup history, Marta bids an emotional farewell

A split image of Jamaica celebrating (top left), South Africa celebrating (bottom left), and Marta waving to the crowd (right).

Jamaica and South Africa stole the show on Wednesday as they both progressed to the World Cup round of 16 for the first time in their country’s history. Banyana Banyana saw off Italy with a magnificent 3-2 win, while a 0-0 draw against Brazil was enough for the Reggae Girlz to go through.

It was a bittersweet day for women’s football fans though, as Marta officially played her final game for Seleção. The all-time great gave an emotional speech after the match about passing the torch on to the next generation of players.

So as we celebrate a new dawn in our beautiful game, let’s take a look at how the penultimate day of World Cup group stage action unfolded.

Argentina 0-2 Sweden

Embed from Getty Images

Sweden dominated in their final game in Group G, securing a convincing 2-0 victory over Argentina. Rebecka Blomqvist got the goal-scoring action underway before Elin Rubensson’s late spot-kick sealed the win for the Swedes. The three points see Sweden progress to the knockout stage as group winners.

Sweden will face the USA in the round of 16 after the World Champions finished as runners-up of Group E. Argentina’s World Cup journey has concluded, having picked up just one point from a possible nine. 

South Africa 3-2 Italy

Embed from Getty Images

In a closely contested match, South Africa emerged victorious over Italy. The win secured their spot in the knockout stages of the tournament as they finished second in their group. Despite taking the early lead, the Italians saw the advantage slip away from them. An own goal combined with poor spells of defending means Italy will likely want to erase the memory of the game from their minds. Unfortunately, their own goal granted South Africa an opportunity to regain their footing and ultimately go on to claim all three points.

The victory sees Banyana Banyana progress to the knockouts as group runners-up. Regardless of the result of their match with the Netherlands, the South Africans have achieved their best result at a World Cup, after bowing out in the group stage back in 2019. Italy exit the competition having taken just three points from a possible nine.

Panama 3-6 France

Embed from Getty Images

In one of the highest-scoring matches of the tournament so far, France pulled off an impressive victory over Panama. With the Canal Girls initially taking the lead, France staged a resounding comeback to win the match 6-3. With three penalties awarded throughout the game, VAR once again played a significant part throughout the match. 

France will face the runners-up of Group H, with Colombia, Germany or Morocco as possible opponents.

Panama bowed out of their maiden World Cup having failed to get any points on the board over their three group stage games. Despite their early exit, Panama can return home knowing they have made history by leading their country to its first Women’s World Cup.

Jamaica 0-0 Brazil

Embed from Getty Images

In one of the shocks of the tournament, Brazil failed to progress from the group stage for the first time in 28 years. Being held to a goalless draw by Jamaica, their ninth appearance ended in heartbreak for captain Marta as the dream of her final World Cup came to an end. For Jamaica however, the victory marks a watershed moment for the team.

Securing their spot in the final 16 of the tournament amidst public discussions around the funding and treatment of the team, the Reggae Girlz have pulled off an almost unimaginable feat. Coming second in Group F will see Jamaica face the winners of Group H. Three teams are still in the running to top the group.

Marta bids farewell to the World Cup stage after respectfully bowing out of the tournament. She passes the torch down to a new generation of players, having helped spearhead the women’s game for so long. Thank you for everything, Marta.

MORE from Her Football Hub: