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JAMAICA qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time after beating Panama on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the third-place at the Concacaf qualifying tournament.
The Reggae Girlz, ranked No 64 in the world, became the first Caribbean team to earn a spot in the World Cup. The island nation restarted their women’s national team programme in 2014 after a six-year hiatus, boosted by the support of Bob Marley’s oldest daughter, Cedella Marley.
“I’m telling you, this is a lot more than football,” Jamaica coach Hue Menzies said. “This is a statement. We’re going to go back home and celebrate. There’s not a whole lot of space on that island. But we’re gonna find every inch to celebrate on. Because this is history. History in the making.”
Panama’s highly rated 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey made a spectacular save in the seventh minute when she reached to stop a shot that Jamaica’s Giselle Washington took on a rebound off the post. But she couldn’t get to Khadija Shaw’s goal in the 13th minute that gave the Reggae Girlz the early lead.
Natalia Mills pulled Panama even at 1-1 with a goal in the 74th minute.
Jamaica went up first in extra-time with Jody Brown’s goal in the 95th minute. Panama again equalised with Lineth Cendeno’s goal in the 115th.
Jamaica prevailed 4-2 on penalties. After a pair of Panama misses, Dominique Bond-Flasza made her shot to send Jamaica to France.
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