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FIFA Women's World Cup

Colombia shock Germany with 97th minute winner at Women’s World Cup

Manuela Vanegas scored a 97th-minute winner as Colombia stunned Germany at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Linda Caicedo netted a wondergoal to give the South Americans the lead, before Germany equalised with an 89th-minute Alexandra Popp penalty.

Vanegas then headed Leicy Santos’ corner past Merle Frohms to send the vast numbers of Colombia supporters at Sydney Football Stadium wild.

It condemned Germany to a first World Cup group stage defeat since 1995.

A manic ending came after Caicedo, 18, had brilliantly curled into the top corner on 53 minutes to shock the two-time world champions.

The final round of fixtures in this group kick off at 11.00 BST on 3 August, with Colombia taking on Morocco and Germany facing South Korea.

Colombia need a point to top the group, while Germany may need victory to be sure of reaching the knock-outs.

“Obviously, you need to be happy and euphoric because this is a great win for the whole country and we’ve been feeling this,” said Colombia assistant coach Angelo Marsiglia.

“But look, the game and the tournament still continues so we’ll go step by step. We have a very mature team and they know what they want.”

Vanegas winner sparks extraordinary scenes

Germany’s Lina Magull said before this game that they were ready for Colombia’s “passion” and physicality – but they got far more than they bargained for.

Facing the two-time world champions, Colombia made the game a real battle with plenty of midfield scraps and tough challenges, with Germany rarely able to find any form of rhythm.

After going behind to Caicedo’s moment of magic, Germany appeared to have got away with a point when Colombia keeper Catalina Perez fouled Lena Oberdorf and captain Popp tucked away the penalty.

Colombia however had other ideas, and it was the unlikely figure of full-back Vanegas who sent their supporters into ecstasy.

Huge numbers of Colombia fans were present at their opening win over South Korea at the same stadium, and they made themselves known again in numbers and noise here. At the final whistle, it seemed Sydney had been transformed into Bogota.

Colombia celebrate their winner against Germany

Manuela Vanegas’ late winner sparked enormous scenes of Colombian celebration

The only worrying moment for Colombia was centre-back Jorelyn Carabali being taken off on a stretcher in the final seconds after a collision with Popp.

Germany’s run of 20 successive Women’s World Cup group games unbeaten – stretching back to a 3-2 loss to Sweden, 28 years ago – is at an end.

Far more concerning for them was their defeat by physical and committed opponents, which will raise some doubts as they aim to reach a first final since they last won the global title in 2007.

“It’s up to us,” said Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. “It’s up to us how we play and it’s our job to do that. I’m really not worried that we won’t make it through.”

Wonder girl Caicedo’s latest showstopper

Caicedo’s career journey to this point has been far from ordinary – she made her professional debut aged 14 before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged 15, undergoing chemotherapy and surgery.

Her build-up to this game was not smooth either. She collapsed during a training session on Tuesday, although the Colombian camp played down the issue as being due to stress and fatigue.

Plenty of stress is being placed on Caicedo, who is still only 18, being the key figure in Colombia’s attack – but early in the second half, she demonstrated exactly why with what could be called her ‘Michael Owen moment’.

Linda Caicedo
Linda Caicedo curled home the opening goal for Colombia eight minutes into the second half

Aged 18 at the 1998 World Cup, England striker Owen streaked through the Argentina defence to score a remarkable individual goal.

In 2023, Caicedo twisted and turned to somehow find a yard of space among a crowd of Germany players, before curling the ball unstoppably over keeper Frohms.

If the football world did not know the name Linda Caicedo before, they surely do now. And if the football world was not paying attention to Colombia, they surely are now.

Credit: BBC Sport

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