VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Colombia may have been a bit overwhelmed in Montreal, but in the end it didn’t matter.
Colombia fell 2-1 to England on Wednesday at Olympic Stadium in Quebec’s largest city. Colombia coach Felipe Taborda said his team was awed by the stadium and its supportive fans, at least for the first half, and that cost Las Cafeteras.
But it was an earlier group-stage victory over third-ranked France sent Las Cafeteras through to the knockout round at the Women’s World Cup.
“We lost the match but we live to fight on,” Taborda said.
They’ll have quite a fight.
Las Cafeteras, ranked No. 28 in the world, will face the second-ranked U.S. women on Monday at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. And they’ll be without goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda because of a pair of yellow cards, one against France and the second against England. Sepulveda was key to the team’s victory over France with six saves.
The Americans are seeking their third World Cup title but first since 1999. The U.S. women finished atop Group D with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria on Monday night.
The Americans defeated No. 10 Australia in their World Cup opener, before playing to a scoreless draw with Sweden.
Colombia hadn’t won a World Cup match until the upset of France in the team’s second group match. Las Cafeteras finished the Group F 1-1-1.
The United States has won both previous meetings with Colombia.
Here’s a look at the other things happening at the World Cup.
PLAYING THROUGH: The knockout round opens on Saturday with top-ranked Germany playing Sweden in Ottawa and China facing Cameroon in Edmonton.
On Sunday, host Canada plays Switzerland in Vancouver, France faces South Korea in Montreal, and Brazil plays Australia in Moncton.
In addition to the Colombia-United States match in Edmonton on Monday, defending champion Japan plays the Netherlands in Vancouver and Norway plays England in Ottawa.
An expanded field of 24 teams opened the World Cup, which is being played across six Canadian cities. The final is set for July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver.
OH CAMEROON! Cameroon, ranked at No. 53 in the world, is the lowest-ranked team to go through to the knockout stage.
The Lionesses advanced with a 2-1 victory over Switzerland to wrap up the group stage. They became just the second African team to go through, joining Nigeria in 1999.
Cameroon will play No. 16 China on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. An expanded field of 24 teams opened this year’s Women’s World Cup, which is being played across six Canadian cities.
Coach Enow Ngachu said his team is still learning to play on the big stage.
“This performance will have a positive impact for women’s football in Cameroon,” Ngachu said. “We were not just defending the colors of Cameroon, but also of Africa.”
MORGAN’S RETURN: When forward Alex Morgan made the starting lineup for the U.S. national team’s final group-stage match against Nigeria, she jokingly turned to defender Meghan Klingenberg for pro tips.
Morgan, known as a super sub in the World Cup in Germany, was also a sub in the first two matches as she worked her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee.
Monday’s start was her first-ever in a World Cup.
“We were having laughs before the game, because I was talking to Meghan Klingenberg asking her to give me pointers because she’s such a veteran,” Morgan laughed.
Klingenberg is a World Cup rookie, but she’s started in all three of the U.S. matches.
Morgan, who has 51 goals in 84 international appearances, had not started in a match since April 11, the season opener for the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League. Her last start for the United States came in a 4-0 victory over New Zealand in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4.
She missed the national team’s three send-off matches in the United States.
Also up top with Morgan at forward was Abby Wambach, who came in as a substitute in the United States’ 0-0 draw with Sweden last Friday.
It was the first time Wambach, the team’s all-time leading scorer, had come off the bench in a World Cup since her first in 2003.
RECAPPING WEDNESDAY: It was the final day of group-stage matches at the World Cup. At the start of the day only three knockout round matches were set. The rest of the field had to watch the results.
France defeated Mexico 5-0 to finish atop Group F and send Las Tri home; and England beat Colombia 2-1. Brazil finished atop Group E with a 3-0 record after defeating Costa Rica 1-0, and South Korea defeated Spain 2-1.
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