Women's World Cup: Colombia stun Germany; Norway save themselves as New Zealand crash out

10 days after the tournament began, the 2023 Women’s World Cup group stage is moving towards its conclusion as Sunday saw the last of the competing countries clock up their seconds games and the first start to play their third and final.

The day started and finished with Group H, while two simultaneous Group A games filled the gap. This may have been one of the most action-packed 24 hours yet, with a couple of historic wins, a one-sided thrashing and a tense stalemate with everything to play for until the very last kick.

Prior to this tournament, Colombia had only ever won one World Cup game. Now, two games into these finals, they have trebled that tally to all but guarantee their place in the knockout rounds for the first time – only an unlikely heavy defeat to Morocco next up could change that, while even just avoiding defeat in that game will ensure they go through to the last 16 as group winners.

Linda Caicedo had already found the net in Colombia’s opening win over South Korea, but the Real Madrid teenager produced a moment of individual genius here that will long be remembered as one of the greatest goals in World Cup history – a potential Puskas Award nomination awaits.

Germany, who had no problems putting six goals past Morocco last time out, looked to have spared their blushes and rescued a point when Alexandra Popp converted an 89th minute penalty. But Colombia refused to let go of their shot at history and hit back a winner in the 97th minute.

Leicy Santos’ in-swinging corner from the right found an unmarked Manuela Vanegas in the penalty area. The defender didn’t even have to jump to connect with the ball and guided it past the reach of goalkeeper Merle Frohms to send every Colombian and neutral alike into delirium.

As for Germany, they have lost a World Cup group game for the first time since 1995 and there are suddenly question marks over their credentials as challengers for the trophy.

In Group H’s earlier kick-off, Morocco made amends for their 6-0 defeat to Germany last week to give themselves a chance of even making it to the knockout stages.

Ibtissam Jraidi, who plays her club football in Saudi Arabia, scored the only goal six minutes in. There was also a bit of history for defender Nouhaila Benzina.

South Korea had come into this World Cup as the most experienced of the group’s teams at this level after Germany. But, having lost two games they would have hoped to win or at least not be beaten in, only an improbably victory over Germany with an eight-goal swing will stop them going home early.


Norway went into their final game knowing a big win was the only way to guarantee themselves a place in the knockout rounds, no matter the score in the other game between Switzerland and New Zealand. Having struggled so far in the tournament, they managed it.

Sophie Roman Haug kept her place over Ada Hegerberg, who remained unused on the bench, and took just six minutes to fire Norway into the lead. She soon doubled her tally, before Caroline Graham Hansen, back in the starting XI after being dropped for the Switzerland game, added a third.

An Alicia Barker own goal and a Guro Reiten penalty early in the second half piled on the misery for Philippines, with Haug competing her hat-trick deep into stoppage time.

For the Philippines, it was a sad way to end what had otherwise been a successful maiden World Cup campaign, but they can take home the positives of beating co-hosts New Zealand and in the end only being one point shy of a potential place in the knockouts.

“Progress for New Zealand would be to win a World Cup game,” were the words of England legend turned top pundit Fara Williams in an interview with 90min before the tournament began.

The Football Ferns achieved that when they beat Norway on an emotionally charged night in the opening game. A follow-up shock defeat to Philippines then derailed their chances of going further, although it was still on the table had they been able to get one over on Switzerland.

In the end, they couldn’t. Right until the end, a single goal would have changed things for New Zealand and put them through as group winners. But the game was to finish 0-0, with Jacqueline Hand at one point hitting the post that could have given them the result they needed. Ultimately, however, they went out with a bit of a whimper and are the first host nation to fall at the group stage.

Switzerland also didn’t create all that much and are perhaps the beneficiaries of what was a pretty weak group compared to some of the others in competition.

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