Colom­bia up­set France and make his­tory

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY STANIS­LAS TOUCHOT

Goals in ei­ther half from Lady An­drade and Catalina Usme l i f t ed Colom­bia to a his­toric 2-0 Women’s World Cup win against France on Satur­day in the first ma­jor up­set of the tour­na­ment.

Third-ranked France had been bid­ding to seal their last 16 berth along with cham­pi­ons Ja­pan af­ter a 1-0 win over Eng­land in their opener, but must now wait un­til their fi­nal game in a tight Group F.

Colom­bia, ranked 28, moved top of Group F with four points from two games, with France on three along with Eng­land who beat Mex­ico 2-1 on Satur­day. The Mex­i­cans have one point.

“This is an am­bi­tious team, ea­ger and will­ing to go af­ter victory,” said Colom­bia coach Fabian Taborda.

“We’re not here just to make up num­bers, we’re here to im­prove and win. Th­ese ladies are fighters and war­riors.”

The French fell be­hind early when An­drade, 23, picked up a pass from Yoreli Rin­con af­ter 19 min­utes to beat Sarah Bouhaddi in the France goal.

That strike vis­i­bly boosted Las Cafeteras’ con­fi­dence, as French morale took a bash­ing.

And late in the game, with all the French team camped in the Colom­bian half push­ing for an equal­izer, sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute Usme broke through to close out the victory three min­utes into in­jury time.

“Dis­ap­point­ment is the only word for it,” said France coach Philippe Berg­eroo.

“To­day Colom­bia re­ally de­served their victory. We knew they were very good, but when you come up against an en­thu­si­as­tic team like that it’s dif­fi­cult.

“And then the morale took a knock when we con­ceded the first goal.”

It was a first World Cup win for the Colom­bians who drew 1-1 with Mex­ico in their opener.

“We came up against a su­per goal­keeper and lacked fi­nesse in our tech­nique,” said Berg­eroo.

“At the end of the match we tried to go all out and we con­ceded the sec­ond goal.

“For me it’s the team who lost the match to­day not any in­di­vid­ual player. We missed enor­mous chances. We can only blame our­selves.”

Colom­bian goal­keeper San­dra Sepul­veda, who missed their open­ing game be­cause of in­jury, pulled off a string of fine saves.

France striker Eu­ge­nie Le Som­mer had Les Bleues’ best chance min­utes be­fore the break, but Sepul­veda held firm, as she also pulled off mag­nif­i­cent saves from Elise Bus­saglia (46) and Claire Lavo­gez (90+1).

“It’s a tremen­dous joy and grat­i­fy­ing to be part of this great mo­ment,” said Sepul­veda.

“We know how much we’ve trained to win this match. Our work has borne fruit.”

‘Think­ing big’

France al­most got the equal­izer with 20 min­utes to go when Sepul- veda han­dled the ball just out­side of her area, but Camille Abily’s tame ef­fort went straight into the Colom­bian goalie’s hands.

In des­per­a­tion Berg­eroo sent in his three sub­sti­tutes in a bid to boost the front line.

Abily, Le Som­mer, Lavo­gez, Jes­sica Houara and Aman­dine Henry all came close to earn­ing a point, but Colom­bia’s back­line held firm.

Las Cafeteras kept the French at bay and their com­po­sure paid off when Usme’s quick think­ing paid off, with wild cel­e­bra­tions mo­ments later at the fi­nal whis­tle.

“I think peo­ple think that Colom­bia come here just to com­pete,” said An­drade of her side who are play­ing in their sec­ond World Cup.

“We’re very united as a group, it’s very dif­fi­cult for us to be de­feated,” she warned.

“We’ll con­tinue sur­pris­ing I’m sure. We’ve evolved in our mind­set and are now think­ing big.”

The re­sult leaves it all to play for in Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal group games with France, fourth at the 2011 World Cup and 2012 Olympics, tak­ing on Mex­ico and Colom­bia play­ing Eng­land.

The top two teams in each group ad­vance to the knock-out round along with the four best third-place fin­ish­ers.

AFP

Colom­bia’s goal­keeper San­dra Sepul­veda, left, stops the ball dur­ing a Group F match at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup be­tween France and Colom­bia at Monc­ton Sta­dium, New Brunswick on Satur­day, June 13.

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