In the first true upset of the tournament, 28th ranked Colombia shocked World Cup contenders and 3rd ranked France. Since the FIFA rankings started in 2003, the win by Colombia is considered the largest upset in women’s soccer history.
In a post game press conference, Colombian coach Fabian Taborda said of his team’s monumental upset and effort, “We’ve proved that we’re not just here to make up the numbers. We knew that we’d have to play intelligently and fight for every ball. My players are real battlers.”
Lady Andrade opened up the scoring for the Colombians in the 19th minute when she ran onto a through ball and slotted it home in the lower right corner. If that name sounds familiar, soccer fans before the goal knew Andrade for this.
After the goal and throughout the rest of the game, the Colombian backline, led by a fantastic performance by centerback Nataly Arias, kept the dangerous French attack at bay. The centerbacks continually clogged the center of the field and only allowed Eugénie Le Sommer and the potent French attack shots from long distance. Colombian goalkeeper, Sandra Sepúlveda, was called on time after time to make great saves from set pieces and from shots out wide.
The game was finished off in the 90+3’ minute when French goalkeeper, Sarah Bouhaddi, came to near midfield to field a ball that was cleared by the Colombians. Bouhaddi, under pressure from the Colombian offense, only managed to clear it right to Colombian midfielder Diana Ospina. Ospina led the counter attack by passing the ball to Catalina Usme on the wing, who slid the ball past the retreating Bouhaddi to complete the stunning upset.
France created 21 shots and also had 12 corners in this game and held Colombia to only 3 shots as well as 2 corner kicks. Even though they created a large amount of shots, the key for France’s inability to score was the final ball in the attacking third.
However, this game was not without controversy. In the 67th minute, Colombian defender Daniela Montoya played volleyball as she deliberately smacked the ball out of the air away from a French attacker in the box. Despite the egregious handball, the French were not awarded a deserved penalty kick, as neither the line official nor the head official saw the handball.
The Colombians shocking win throws Group F into chaos as now the two teams almost everyone thought would compete to win Group F are now in second (England) and third (France).With the Women's World Cup rules, the top two teams of each group go to the knockout round along with the best 4 3rd place finishers in each group. It is very likely that both England and France will still advance but both teams will need to take care of business in their final game to assure passage into the knockout round. The France loss means that now the predicted quarterfinal which everyone wanted to see, France - Germany, will now likely not happen.
With their win, the Colombians are now in the driver seat to win Group F and are very likely to at least advance to the knockout round with a second or even a third place finish. They play England in their next game June 17th while France plays Mexico on the same day.