Girlz remain positive in the midst of growing pains

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, June 15, 2019

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REIMS, France — Despite the despair of another crushing defeat here at the Fifa Women's World Cup, Jamaica Reggae Girlz remain positive that they can salvage some pride from this their debut campaign.

The Girlz, who were beaten 3-0 by Brazil in their opening game on Sunday, again found the going tough, suffering a 0-5 loss to Italy in their second Group C contest at Stade Auguste-Delaune yesterday.

Cristiana Girelli led the Italians with goals in the 12th, 25th and 46th minutes, before substitute Aurora Galli grabbed a brace in the 71st and 81st minutes.

The win saw the Italians assume pole position on six points to make their path to the round of 16 safe after a 20-year absence, while the Girlz remain rooted at the foot of the standing without a point but yet with a slim chance of progressing to the next round. Brazil and Australia are on three points each.

Though the scoreline was a disappointing one for the Hue Menzies-coached Reggae Girlz, it was a much better display from the players in some quarters, particularly from an attacking standpoint, but still they lacked composure in the final third and as such were denied at least one goal.

Yet, they view the experience on the global stage as a learning experience as they are once again left to pick up the pieces.

Defender Allyson Swaby, who plies her trade professionally for AS Roma in the Italian League, believes her team can bounce back in their final contest against Australia in Grenoble on Tuesday.

“It is a disappointing result. I feel like we really put the time in to see it differently today but they were the better team today, and I think that sometimes things don't go the way you expect them to but I'm proud of our effort .

“We still have another game, we can still make a huge statement in that final game — so everything has to be focused on going forward into that game now,” she told reporters.

Swaby, 22, who was joined in the Reggae Girlz set-up by her younger sister Chantelle, pointed to inadequate preparation time which placed them at a disadvantage when going up against more experienced and organised teams on this stage.

“A team like Italy is incredibly organised and you can only be that organised when you have time together and adequate preparation; and I think we made our best effort to get training camps in before the World Cup but I think we are still behind the curb in terms of how many hours we are spending together as a team in the training session.

“And looking forward, hopefully we can have more camps and we don't have to build something together in six months what other people have been working on for four years,” she noted.

An emotional left full back Deneisha Blackwood also lauded the team's effort, but believes more should have been done in the attacking third.

“I think our team gave it our all but that was just not our game. I think defensively we are learning and attacking wise — we are getting there but I feel like we just need to shoot more at goal and we will get results.

“I can't speak for anybody else, but I know I believe they say the ball is round and I think we can come back strong — we just have to dig deep, as always,” she reasoned.

Midfielder Havana Solaun had a fairly good game but agreed that there are still areas to tighten up on.

“I don't think the score really projected how the game was. I thought we had our opportunities but we didn't capitalise, and they did on theirs. I still believe there is more we can do as individuals and as a team so we still have a lot to learn, but for now we have to focus on the next game and take what we can from this one,” she said.

“I think there were moments when we kept the ball and had good attacks but I think it's in the final part that we have to polish up. It comes down to the fact that we are a young team and we have room to grow, which I think is a positive, and we just have to do our best to do that,” Solaun added.


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