Day 14: Farewell to an icon
Joy for Jamaica and South Africa as Brazil and Italy crash out
Jamaica 0 - Brazil 0
Where to begin with this one? Jamaica held Brazil to a 0-0 draw to ensure their spot in the knock-out rounds with Brazil exiting the competition at this stage for the first time since 1995. Marta finished her final World Cup sat looking out from the bench, stony-faced, unable to do anymore having started the game.
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For Jamaica, this has been some achievement. The team required a GoFundMe to reach the tournament with their federation having given them almost no support. Not only that, they have developed considerably since the 2019 World Cup where they conceded 10 goals in three games. Not many people would have predicted them to keep three clean sheets in a group that conceded France and Brazil.
They have potentially been slightly lucky in this regard. They have conceded opportunities with an expected goals of 4.4 but with a post-shot xG of only 2.4, suggesting that their opponents have been poor with their shot placement but also possibly highlighting the Jamaican defences success in putting players off. However, even then Becky Spencer has the highest overperformance against PSxG of any goalkeeper in the competition. Spencer has played exceptionally but has not historically been a goalkeeper who consistently posts better numbers than expected - in fact it normally goes in the opposite direction. But her upturn has come at the perfect moment.
For Brazil, this group stage exit is a total failure, regardless of the misfortune of being in a group with France. They looked totally disconnected in attack against Jamaica and struggled to build the kind of intensity to put them under serious pressure. They are arguably the most talented team to have gone out at the group stage - a sour end to Marta’s incredible footballing legacy.
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