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Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz hold France scoreless in Women’s World Cup

Jamaica has produced a superb rearguard effort to hold the far higher-ranked France to a 0-0 draw In the first group F clash of the Women’s World Cup.

France dominated possession and led the shot count 13-6 in front of 39,045 spectators at Allianz Stadium.

Ranked 38 places below France, Jamaica did what the other outsiders in the tournament had aspired but largely failed to do so far – take points from a heavyweight opponent.

Les Bleus couldn’t find a way past Jamaican goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer and her determined outfield colleagues.

For France, Kadidiatou Diani headed against the crossbar in the 90th minute and went close on several other occasions.

Jamaica finished the game with 10 players, after Khadija Shaw was sent off in second-half stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card.

France scored a win without conceding a goal in the opening match of its past three World Cup campaigns, but wasn’t able to keep that streak going, having only five shots on target despite its glut of possession.

The teams had to deal with a couple of heavy showers but the commitment of both sides was quickly evident.

France captain Wendie Renaud and Shaw both required treatment after an early head clash and Chilean referee Maria Carvajal issued three first-half yellow cards.

World No.5 ranked France had the majority of first-half possession and chances, but struggled to create clear-cut opportunities.

The 43rd-ranked Jamaicans defended stoutly and threatened on the break and the counter attack.

Spencer did well to push away a strong Diani shot which threatened to sneak inside her near post in the 36th minute.

France came close on a couple of occasions in first-half stoppage time, with Spencer making another save and the European side threatening from corners.

Jamaica’s best first-half effort was Shaw’s powerful 30-metre free kick in the 41st minute, which zipped just past a post.

The French dominated even more after half-time, with Eugenie Le Sommer having a shot saved by Spencer, Diani heading just wide twice and Sandie Toletti blasting a shot over the bar.

The Reggae Girlz had their first on-target attempt in the 65th minute, but Cheyna Matthews’ soft header was comfortably saved.

The other two group F teams, Brazil and Panama, clash in Adelaide on Monday evening.

Injured Sam Kerr at Matildas training

Netherlands edge Portugal

Earlier, The Netherlands tuned up for a rematch of the 2019 Women’s World Cup final with a 1-0 defeat of Portugal in Dunedin.

Retiring defender Stefanie van der Gragt earned the Dutch victory on Sunday night with a 13th-minute header in the all-European affair.

Under the roof in Dunedin, the Netherlands laboured to a tight defeat of the World Cup first-timers.

Portugal didn’t have a shot, or touch the ball in the Dutch box throughout the first 80 minutes.

The Oranje were made to sweat a VAR referral for the goal which eventually cleared midfielder Jill Roord of interference on the goal line.

The Oranje are next in action against two-time reigning champions USA on Thursday in Wellington in the stand-out group match of the tournament.

Portugal faces Vietnam in a battle of the Group E minnows.

-AAP

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