Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Colombia 2-0 South Korea: South Americans capitalise on mistakes for opening World Cup win

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Colombia got their 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup off to the perfect start with victory over South Korea in Sydney.

Catalina Usme put the South Americans ahead from the penalty spot, before teenager Linda Caicedo doubled the lead thanks to an error from Korean keeper Yoon Young-geul.

That was enough to give Colombia their second ever win at the tournament.

For South Korea, history was made as Casey Phair became the youngest player ever at a Women’s World Cup.

The forward, aged just 16 years and 26 days, was introduced as a 77th-minute substitute.

The Asian nation, who have now lost all four of their Women’s World Cup opening matches, next face Morocco on 30 July in a must-win Group H match, before Colombia play Germany.

This could have been Colombia’s World Cup – they bid to host the 2023 tournament and were only narrowly beaten by Australia and New Zealand.

While they might not be at home, a very loud army of fans roared them on at Sydney Football Stadium – and were rewarded.South Korea did their best to make the Colombians feel comfortable, handing them a two-goal first half lead through a duo of defensive errors.

On 28 minutes, a frantic passage of play with several deflections and mis-hit shots ended when Shim Seo-yeon blocked a goalbound effort with her arm.Usme calmly rolled home the result spot-kick, sparking wild celebrations among the yellow-shirted fans.

The worst was yet to come for South Korea, as Caicedo doubled the Colombian lead in a horrible moment for keeper Yoon.

Real Madrid winger Caicedo was allowed too much time and space to run at the defence down the left, she cut inside and her tame curled effort should have been saved but Yoon mis-timed her jump and the ball slipped through her gloves and into the net.

Yet Caicedo’s drive, skill and foresight demonstrated why, at only 18, she is one of the most hotly-tipped young stars of the tournament.

Colombia came closer to extending their lead after half time when Mayra Ramirez headed just wide.

The victory boosts their chances of qualifying from Group H, leaving them level on points with favourites Germany.

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