It’s easy to love Jamaica in the 2019 Women’s World Cup -- particularly for a South Floridian. The team, which lost funding and disbanded in 2014 only to resurface when Bob Marley’s daughter made it her mission to rebuild the team, is loaded with Florida native and even trained in Miramar ahead of its trip to France for its first appearance in the Women’s World Cup.
Jamaica’s stay as the first Caribbean team to qualify for the World Cup might not last much longer, though, after a 5-0 loss to Italy on Friday in Reims. With a goal differential of negative-eight, even an upset win against Australia on Tuesday might not be enough to push them through Group C and into the knockout rounds.
If it’s down to its final game, Jamaica didn’t go out without making it thrilling for those supporting a major fan favorite. Sydney Schneider, in particular, is making this a run to remember for the whole world.
As the goalkeeper for the lowest ranked team in the field, Schneider has been bombarded with shots throughout the first to games. In a loss to Brazil on Sunday, Schneider stopped a penalty kick. On Friday, the 19-year-old did it again only to be bitten by the increasingly controversial implementation of video assistant referee at Stade Auguste-Delaune.
With the game still scoreless in the opening 15 minutes, Italy got its first major chance with a penalty kick and Schneider sprawled to stop a low shot. The referee, however, decided to check with VAR, which determined Schneider’s heels just barely came off the line — technically a violation, albeit one which was never called in the pre-VAR era unless egregious.
Striker Cristiana Girelli converted on her second attempt at the penalty and the floodgates started to open up for Italy.
Jamaica has already made so much history this year. It will get one more chance to make some more next week.