World Cup: South Africa, Jamaica shock rivals, Sweden and France top groups

Noko Matlou of South Africa celebrates her team's 3-2 win over Italy in the FIFA Women's World Cup Group G. Photo: Masanori Udagawa

Two minutes into stoppage time, Thembi Kgatlana stunned Italy with a game-winner for South Africa in a 3-2 victory that pushed her team into the Round of 16 for the first time at the Women’s World Cup.

Kgatlana’s score in the box off a pass from Hildah Magaia answered a game-tying goal in the 74th minute in Group G action in Wellington.

Italy (1-0-2), needing only a draw to advance, made it 2-all on Arianna Caruso’s second goal from a corner. Several attempts to take the lead were averted by South Africa (1-1-1).

Magaia netted the third goal of the game in the 87th minute attacking from left of the goal.

South Africa goalie Kaylin Swart made multiple critical saves down the stretch, including a long-distance try from Italy defender Elena Linari.

Jamaica 0, Brazil 0

Jamaica earned a draw in Melbourne to also advance to the knockout stage for the first time at the Women’s World Cup and send Brazil home from the group stage for the first time since 1995.

Three consecutive shutouts propelled Jamaica into the knockout round for the first time.

Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer continued her stellar play by keeping Brazil off the board, ending the spectacular World Cup career of Brazilian star Marta, who has a record 17 career World Cup goals.

Playing in the Women’s World Cup for only the second time, Jamaica needed a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the team to make it to the event.

The Reggae Girlz eliminated reigning Copa America champs Brazil and advanced as the runner-up to France (seven points) in Group F with five points.

Sweden 2, Argentina 0

Two second-half goals set up Sweden for a Sunday date with the United States in a matchup of group stage winners.

Sweden's defender #13 Amanda Ilestedt (L) celebrates scoring her team's second goal with teammates during the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup Group G football match between Sweden and South Africa at Wellington Stadium, also known as Sky Stadium, in Wellington on July 23, 2023. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP)

Sweden remain unbeaten. Photo: MARTY MELVILLE / AFP

Elin Rubensson sparked the celebration in the 90th minute with a penalty kick. Rebecka Blomqvist opened the scoring in Hamilton, with a header for a tally in the 66th minute for No. 3 Sweden.

Sweden beat the Americans in 2021 in Tokyo during the quarterfinals of the 2020 Summer Games.

France 6, Panama 3

France dominated possession and scored six goals to win Group F in a fast-paced and entertaining match against Panama in Sydney.

France fell behind instantly on a free kick by Marta Cox and appeared to be reeling.

But Lea Le Garrec made it 4-1 before the half and France’s Kadidiatou Diani scored three times. Panama wouldn’t go silently, with goals in the 64th minute on a penalty and Lineth Cedeno’s header in the 87th minute made it a one-goal game.

France began the match with captain Wendie Renard (calf injury) and all-time leading scorer Eugenie Le Sommer on the bench but proved to have more than enough firepower, netting six of its 21 total shots and possessing the ball nearly 70 percent of the match.

Source: RNZ