A fantastic hat-trick from Cristiane saw Brazil Women defeat Jamaica Women 3-0 in their opening match of the World Cup in France.
The South American side kicked off their campaign at the at the Stade des Alpes and looked the better of the two sides in the opening stages.
It didn’t take too long for the Brazilian outfit to edge ahead after Cristiane guided a superbly taken header beyond the reach of Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider to put her side 1-0 up.
Jamaica grew into the match as Khadija Shaw tested the gloves of Bárbara who rose well to keep the Jamaicans out. However, a handball from Allyson Swaby meant Brazil won a penalty but Schneider saved well from Andressa to keep the score the same.
Into the second half, Jamaica had it all to do to battle back against the Brazilians and their task was made almost impossible after Cristiane doubled Brazil’s lead in the 50th minute. Cristiane then completed her hat-trick with a well-taken free-kick to secure all three points for Brazil.
Here are the winners and losers of Brazil’s 3-0 victory over Jamaica this afternoon.
The 34-year-old is a player who has the potential to really shape tournaments such is her goalscoring expertise.
It didn’t take too long for Cristiane to get her World Cup campaign up and running after she expertly netted in the 15th minute of the match.
She placed a difficult header into the top corner of the Jamaica net following a great cross from Andressa to ease any pressures on her side who were considered favourites going into this match.
34 – Oldest player to score a World Cup hat-trick:
Women's WC – Cristiane (34y 25d)
Men's WC – Cristiano Ronaldo (33y 130d).
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 9, 2019
Cristiane netted her second of the afternoon early in the second half to all but seal the three points and then added her third with a brilliantly taken free-kick.
Cristiane’s header was her 90th goal at international level which is an incredible feat and her first goal at a World Cup since her double in Brazil’s 3-0 win over Equatorial Guinea at the 2011 World Cup in Germany.
Today’s match was decided by moments of quality such as Cristiane’s finishing and if she, along with her teammates, can carry this with them into the next few fixtures, Brazil could produce some shock results.
Prior to kick off, Brazil manager Vadao confirmed that legend Marta may not make the squad because of an injury picked up in their preparations for the tournament last month.
Speaking to reporters he said: “We don’t think she will participate.
“Of course if you lose a player like that, you lose someone who is extremely important. She can play in several different positions.
“This is obviously a great loss, but the athletes we have are here to play.”
Brazil certainly lacked her presence at times, missing plenty of opportunities to make the scoreline more handsome, with Marta already renowned for her scoring expertise. She has netted a record 15 World Cup goals across four competitions for Brazil and was a great miss today, both for her Brazilian supporters and the neutral fans.
At the age of 41, Formiga is simply unstoppable.
The Brazilian legend was once again in the starting line-up for her country, meaning that she has now played in seven World Cups, more than any other player in women’s football.
She is also now officially the oldest outfield player in the tournament’s history.
The midfielder’s first taste of World Cup fever came way back in 1995 as a hungry 17-year-old but now she will forever be remembered as a Brazilian great, with today’s performance matching those almost half her age.
Her overall performance this afternoon was actually pretty impressive, with her accurate crossing picking out her teammate Cristiane twice to ensure she finished the match with two assists to her name.
However, the 26-year-old missed a great opportunity to almost wrap the match up before the half time whistle which would have eased Brazilian fears of a potential shock.
After a soft handball call – confirmed by VAR – inside the Jamaica penalty area, Andressa had the chance to convert from 12-yards for what would have been just her second World Cup goal for Brazil, her first coming in 2015 against Spain.
Her shot was tamely struck towards the bottom left corner but was comfortably saved to deny her a memorable World Cup moment.
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Winner: Sydney Schneider
For a player on the losing side to be considered a winner, their match must have been pretty good.
In truth, if it weren’t for Schneider in between the Jamaica goalposts, the scoreline could have been far worse for a side making their first appearance at a World Cup.
Several excellent stops kept Brazil at bay in the opening 45 minutes as her side struggled with the weight of World Cup football.
This was further highlighted as she got down low to her right to save Andressa’s penalty kick which kept her side in the game and gave them further confidence heading deeper into the 90.
Loser: Allyson Swaby
The Jamaican defender knew that she would be facing a tough task this afternoon, given that she was up against some extremely talented Brazilian forwards.
What she didn’t need was a soft handball decision to go against her in the first half that saw Brazil awarded – and miss – a penalty kick.
From there, she struggled to contain the prolific Cristiane but Swaby herself could have netted but for a bad miss from a yard out.
A goal then would have seen the deficit halves to 2-1 but Swaby’s miss was soon heightened after Cristiane netted her third and ended Jamaica’s chances of stealing a point.
Jamaica lost this football match yet find themselves a winner here. Patronising? We hope not. Praise deserved? 100%.
Yes, their ultimate aim for today was to pick up three points to boost their chances of World Cup success but today meant much more than that.
Heading into today’s fixture, Jamaica knew that they were the lowest ranked side in the competition, sitting at 51st in the Fifa rankings at the time of writing.
In their first appearance at a World Cup, Jamaica looked far from contenders but certainly showed that they will do their best not to simply make up the numbers.
A difficult opening period saw Jamaica edge closer to a potential thrashing but despite going 1-0 down, they fashioned chances and limited Brazil’s chances where possible.