PERTH, Australia — Defender Allyson Swaby scored in the 56th minute and Jamaica hung on to edge Panama 1-0 on Saturday for its first-ever win at the Women’s World Cup.
Swaby, who grew up in West Hartford, Conn., and played for Boston College, knocked in a header off Trudi Carter’s corner kick to clinch a win that moved the Jamaicans into a surprising share of top spot in Group F with France.
The Reggae Girlz were without captain and leading scorer Khadija Shaw, who received a red card in second-half stoppage time of the team’s opening 0-0 draw against France.
Born to a Jamaican father, Allyson and her younger sister Chantelle both are starting in their second Women’s World Cup.
Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer made four saves in the game, which was the first group-stage meeting between two CONCACAF teams.
Spencer’s first save came in the 40th minute, stopping a Marta Cox shot on goal.
Las Canaleras had one final chance to equalize in the dying seconds off a Katherine Castillo corner. The kick traveled to just outside the box, but Cox’s bicycle attempt wasn’t enough to score.
WHY IT MATTERS
With its historic win, No. 43-ranked Jamaica now sits atop the Group F standings with No. 5 France. The Reggae Girlz are a step closer to advancing to the knockout round after losing all their group-stage games on World Cup debut in 2019. They need only a draw against No. 8 Brazil in their last group game to advance, although a loss would likely eliminate them from the tournament. As remarkable as Jamaica’s appearance in the knockout round would be, Brazil’s absence would be even more shocking. The Brazilians opened with a 4-0 win over Panama but lost 2-1 earlier Saturday to France. Panama has no chance of advancing to the knockout round after consecutive losses but is promising to take France to the limit in its last group game.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“If you asked me before the World Cup that we have one game to decide our fate — the last game — I would have said ‘Yes, give it to us.’” — Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson, looking ahead to a game against Brazil.
“We wear the same colors. We have a lot of respect for Brazil. Most Jamaicans think they’re Brazilians when it comes to football.” — Donaldson on the prospect of Jamaica vs. Brazil.
“All of those tears that fell on the field, we are going to convert them into promises to return in four years and continue fighting.” — Panama coach Ignacio Quintana.
Jamaica will have Shaw back in the lineup to face Brazil on Wednesday. Panama plays France in Sydney the same day.
Emily Dozier contributed to this report from Melbourne, Australia.