France breathed fresh life into their Women’s World Cup campaign with a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Brazil on Saturday as Sweden barrelled into the last 16.
Captain Wendie Renard headed in the winner seven minutes from time in front of nearly 50,000 in Brisbane to earn the French a vital three points.
It blew Group F wide open, with France top on four points from two games and Brazil on three.
Jamaica, who surprisingly held France 0-0 last time out, faced Panama later Saturday and could be top of the group by the end of the night.
Herve Renard’s France defied most of the Brisbane crowd and a Brazilian team who thumped Panama 4-0 in their previous match to reinvigorate French hopes of a first World Cup title.
The French controlled much of the first half and took an early lead through veteran striker Eugenie Le Sommer with her 90th goal in 181 appearances.
Brazil came back into the game in the second half and were rewarded when Debinha latched onto a deflected shot and fired past goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin to draw level.
With time running out, France struck again.
Selma Bacha swung in a corner in the 83rd minute and defender Renard – who had been a pre-match injury doubt – appeared unmarked at the far post to head home.
Sweden thumped Italy 5-0 to join title contenders Spain and former champions Japan in reaching the knockout rounds with a match to spare.
Three goals in seven minutes in the first half did the damage in Wellington as Italy struggled to deal with Sweden’s set pieces and aerial threat.
Arsenal defender Amanda Ilestedt scored twice – both headers – with Fridolina Rolfo, Stina Blackstenius and Rebecka Blomqvist also on the scoresheet.
Ilestedt was surprised by her prolific start to the tournament, having also scored the winner with her head in Sweden’s opening 2-1 win over South Africa.
“It feels a bit unreal but I’m very pleased,” she said.
“Maybe I didn’t expect three goals but I know that’s one of my strengths and it’s something we’re working on a lot at training.”
Jamaica claim first World Cup win
Jamaica won a Women’s World Cup match for the first time with a deserved 1-0 victory over debutants Panama on Saturday to close on a place in the last 16.
Skipper Allyson Swaby headed in from a corner early in the second half to give Jamaica their first victory at a World Cup at the fifth attempt.
Having held France to a 0-0 draw in their opening match, the Reggae Girlz sit second in Group F with four points from two games, level on points with the French.
Jamaica face Brazil, beaten 2-1 by France on Saturday, on Wednesday knowing they only need a point to claim a landmark spot in the last 16.
It comes against the backdrop of rows with the Jamaican football federation over a lack of support for the team and unpaid expenses.
Panama, who are making their debut appearance at the World Cup, are out.
Jamaica were on top for much of the contest in front of nearly 16,000 spectators in Perth.
But with their star striker Khadija Shaw absent, having been sent off late on in the stalemate with France, they lacked a cutting edge up front at times.
In her glaring absence, midfielder Drew Spence appeared determined to grab the game by the scruff of the neck all by herself.
The London-born Tottenham Hotspur player, who previously made a couple of appearances for England, ran the show at times.
She was also a threat going forward and came closest to scoring in the first period when on the stroke of half-time her direct free-kick pinged back off the bar.
Jamaica’s pressure paid off in the 56th minute when Swaby rose highest from a corner to glance the ball past goalkeeper Yenith Bailey.
It was only their second World Cup goal ever and put them on their way to their first win, having lost all three matches in their previous appearance, in 2019.
Jamaica thought they had a penalty at the death, but it was turned down after a VAR review.