As you already know, the Reggae Girlz became the first Caribbean country to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup, despite the lack of support they have gotten over the years. While we were proud they made it there in the first place, we have failed to progress from the group stage or get any points. Group C had pretty tough competition, so we all knew these teams would be difficult to beat.
Let's analyse all three matches:
Brazil 3-0 Jamaica
This Brazilian team was definitely not seen as one of the favourites, and had been struggling ever since they won Copa America. Prior to the match, Brazil had only one win in their last 11 matches, and had lost nine consecutive matches. Marta, their star forward, one of the best women to play the game, was out injured for this match. I don't think Jamaica could have gotten an easier Brazilian team to beat.
The Brazilians kept the majority of the possession (62 per cent) while Jamaica kept 38 per cent of the possession. The Brazilians also made more shots on target, which was seven, while Jamaica had three.
Cristiane stepped up in Marta's absence to score the first hat trick of the tournament, thus securing the three points for her country. The highlight of this match for the Jamaicans was when our 19-year-old goal keeper Sydney Schneider, kept out Andressa Alves' penalty, denying Brazil another goal.
Jamaica 0-5 Italy
Even before this match started, we knew this Italy team would have caused a problem. They had a strong and experienced team. They had players like Barbara Bonansea, who won the double with Juventus earlier this year. They were on form. Many of the women were also players for Juventus, and thus had a lot of experience playing together, which is an advantage usually. While Bonansea didn't score, Italy wasn't short of goals. Cristiana Girelli scored a hat trick, while Aurora Galli scored two goals.
Schneider showed her goal keeping prowess once again, denying Girelli the penalty the first time around. She, however, received a yellow card, thus awarding Italy another penalty which ended up going in. This was Italy's first goal.
Just like the Brazil match, Jamaica didn't keep the majority of the possession, but it was a little more balanced this time. Jamaica had 43 per cent possession while Italy had 57 per cent. But we only had only one shot on target, and nine shots overall for the whole match, while Italy had seven on target and 15 overall.
Jamaica 1-4 Australia
The last match for Jamaica and Australia was bound to be exciting. Both teams needed to win to secure the chance to progress. Group C was very tight, with Italy on six points and both Brazil and Australia on three points, separated only by goal difference. A big win from this match meant Jamaica had a chance. The coach knew that, and the players knew that, and it definitely showed. The Jamaican team was attacking way more that usual in an attempt to score many goals, however, they didn't get the intended result.
Australia maintained most of the possession (74 per cent), while Jamaica only had 26 per cent possession. When playing attacking football, especially when you know your defense is prone to conceding, as we have seen from the previous matches, it is imperative to keep possession. Australia had seven shots on target while Jamaica had three.
In this match, Jamaica played Nicole McClure instead of Schneider for the first time this tournament. I think the defense needs serious reform because even though McClure made a silly error which resulted in one of the goals, Jamaica still conceded too many goals. While Sam Kerr was the star of this match, scoring all four goals against Jamaica, Havana Solaun was our lady of the match. Solaun scored Jamaica's first and only goal of the World Cup and it was absolutely beautiful.
The Reggae Girlz tried their best and we're all glad they qualified. However, they have to improve both their defense and attack. We aren't short on talent, especially in attack, but we had problems scoring and defending, and that has to be acknowledged. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them bigger and better at the next World cup. By this time the team would still be relatively young, but more experienced, which can produce favourable results.