Colombia 2-0 South Korea (Jul 24, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN

Cancer survivor Linda Caicedo scored on her debut at the Women’s World Cup as Colombia beat South Korea 2-0 in Sydney on Tuesday.

The Real Madrid forward, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 15, fired in her country’s second goal of the match before racing toward Colombia’s fans in celebration.

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The 18-year-old Caicedo, who is an inspirational figure on and off the field, further enhanced her reputation as one of soccer’s rising stars with her goal and performance as Colombia made a winning start to the tournament.

“Well, I am extremely happy, but this has to do with the collective work of everyone,” Caicedo said.

“The feeling the group had going onto the pitch we were a bit anxious, we wanted the World Cup to start, and we wanted to start off on the right foot, this was something crucial. Very happy for the goal and the victory.”

Linda Caicedo joined Real Madrid in February after winning two league titles with Colombian side America de Cali.

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Colombia took the lead from a penalty in the 30th minute after Shim Seo-Yeon handled a goal-bound effort from Manuela Vanegas in the area. Catalina Usme made no mistake from the spot, sending South Korea goalkeeper Yoon Young-Geul the wrong way while slotting the ball into the far corner.

Caicedo’s goal came at the end of a darting run from midfield, where she cut in from the left before curling a shot from the edge of the box. Her effort appeared too central to trouble Yoon, but the goalkeeper got her positioning wrong and instead fumbled it into the net.

South Korea nearly pulled one back just before halftime when Lee Geum-min’s close-range header off a terrific cross from Choe Yu-Ri forced keeper Catalina Perez to make a diving save.

South Korea’s American-born teenager Casey Phair became the youngest player to take the field in Women’s World Cup history when she was subbed on in the 78th minute, just 26 days after her 16th birthday.

Colombia had a late chance to score a third, which would have seen it record its biggest ever win at the tournament, but a miscommunication between Usme and Vanegas meant a promising break came to nothing.

The Group H fixture was the final game of the opening round of group matches and the 300th match in Women’s World Cup history. 

“It’s a magnificent stadium, that atmosphere it’s close, it’s tight to the pitch, it’s what every player wants, what every fan wants, and so many people came and watched us today,” South Korea’s English head coach Colin Bell said.

“When you lose it’s not so nice but I’ll treasure this moment for the rest of my life, my first World Cup match.

“You’re up, you’re down, you’re up, you’re down, that’s football. We love it.”

Colombia face two-time World Cup winners Germany on Sunday. The Germans opened their campaign with a 6-0 rout of debutantes Morocco on Monday. South Korea take on Morocco on Sunday.

Information from AP contributed to this report 

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