The Reggae Girlz are out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 competition but despite the early departure the players and their Caribbean fans are cherishing the 49th minute in this final game with Australia.
The Jamaican newcomers to World Cup – whose qualification for this 2019 competition in France marked the first time that a Caribbean girls team has reached the finals of this prestigious tournament – exited Tuesday when they lost to Australia 1-4.
But the Girlz and fans celebrations at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble defied the fact that they were booted out, and instead the focus of the joy was striker Havana Solaun’s goal.
Solaun, who came on as a substitute replacing Tiffany Cameron, took a pass from Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, broke free from three Australian defenders, chipped the ball to her left to avoid the advancing goalie, and rocket the ball into the net in the 49th minute to register the first and only goal scored by Caribbean women in a World Cup finals.
The Jamaicans ended their tournament having taken three goals from Brazil, five from Italy and four from Australia.
Head Coach Hue Menzies saw positives in the Girlz’ first exposure at this level and has an eye on the future.
“The main takeaway is that we can compete at this level,” he said after the final game.
“We’re going to keep developing players to come back to this stage, and that’s what’s important for us in the next four year,” he added optimistically assuming that the Girlz will qualify for the next World Cup.
“We know we can come out and compete with these teams. We just need to get more of these types of games before we get to the World Cup.”