Bunny Shaw and Jamaica were able to frustrate France as both sides had to settle for a point in a goalless draw at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
- Plenty of passion on show
- Lack of clear-cut opportunities
- All to play for in Group F
TELL ME MORE: The Reggae Girlz showed in Sydney that they are capable of holding their own against supposedly superior opposition, with Les Bleues contained with relative ease for long periods on Australian soil.
A scrappy opening set the tone, with the action flowing from end to end without a clear-cut opening being created. Wendie Renard was a constant threat for France from set-pieces, but Jamaica battled bravely throughout.
Star striker Shaw flashed a long-range free-kick narrowly wide late in the first-half, before Kadidiatou Diani saw a strike from the edge of the box deflect agonisingly past the post in stoppage-time as both teams sought to get a foothold in the game.
The French had more of a swagger about them after the break, with Diani going close with a collection of close-range headers – one of which struck the crossbar and upright late on before Shaw collected a second yellow card. But ultimately they were unable to turn their dominance of possession into end product – much to the frustration of coach Herve Renard, who oversaw Saudi Arabia’s stunning upset of Argentina in their opening game of the men’s 2022 World Cup.
THE MVP: Manchester City star Shaw hit 31 goals in 30 games at club level last season and is a talismanic presence for her country. Jamaica required the support of crowd funding in order to get themselves to the 2023 World Cup, and they are determined to repay that faith. Shaw continues to lead by example, with the 26-year-old – who boasts 56 goals at international – full of running. She closed down from the front and attracted multiple French players to her whenever in possession. Shaw was able to win a number of free-kicks for her team, with one of those fired just past the upright in the first half. A couple of painful blows were taken in the closing stages, while a reckless stoppage-time challenge resulted in her souring a positive evening by picking up a second caution and a subsequent red card that will lead to a ban.
THE BIG LOSER: France hoped to have too much quality for their hard-working opponents, but it was set-pieces that posed their biggest threat for much of an even contest. Renard’s towering presence allowed her to get on the end of, or very close to most of the deliveries lifted into the Jamaican box. The long-serving French captain was, however, unable to make telling contact with any of the opportunities that came her way in the air and will be disappointed not to have made a decisive contribution when earning her 147th cap.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? France were considered by some to be dark horses to go all the way at this summer’s tournament, but they will now need a positive result against Brazil on July 29 to keep themselves on track. Jamaica are set to face Panama on the same day as a fiercely competitive Group F begins to take shape.
MATCH RATING: ⭐⭐