Nelson Abadia said his Colombia team were “playing for all the Americas” after a 1-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday set up a Women’s World Cup quarter-final clash with European champions England.

Colombia failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup but topped their group in Australia – stunning Germany along the way – and are now into the last eight for the first time.

In front of a raucous crowd in Melbourne, the 25th-ranked South Americans ground down a resolute and physical Jamaica side who had not conceded a goal all tournament.

Colombia’s intense, attacking ethos under Abadia finally paid dividends in the 51st minute when captain Catalina Usme got the breakthrough with a composed finish inside the box to unlock a previously impenetrable defence.

It set a cagey game alight and sent the pumping pro-Colombian crowd into deafening delirium.

Colombia will now play England in Sydney on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals.

“Our defence were brilliant, they have been evolving over the games, and of course we also had brilliant attackers,” said the coach Abadia.

“We analysed how this game would be and thank God we had a good performance.”

With all other teams from North and South America now out, Abadia added: “There is immense pride.

“Home pride and a regional pride because we know we are worthy representatives of not just Colombia, but South America.

“Now we are playing for all of the Americas because our national team is representing the whole continent.”

Jamaican pride

Having crashed out of the 2019 tournament with three heavy defeats, 43rd-ranked Jamaica, like Colombia, came to Australia with few expecting them to get this far.

And despite defeat they will leave with their heads held high after a historic first World Cup victory – a 1-0 win over Panama – and goalless draws against France and Brazil.

Jamaica’s run to the last 16 came against a backdrop of rows with their federation over a lack of support and resources. The team had also complained about lack of warm-up games.

“I give credit to Colombia, they were better than us tonight,” said Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson.

“But coming in (to the tournament) with no games I feel very happy for the players that they could perform at this level.

“They gave everything tonight. They should be proud of themselves and I’m proud of them.”

Jamaica’s Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw, who was too often starved of service, added: “If you believe and you work hard, anything is possible and we came out here tonight and held our own.”

Clumsy challenges

In front of riotous fans who booed whenever Jamaica touched the ball, both sides pressed early in a stop-start opening that saw several players go down under heavy challenges.

There were few chances in the opening 20 minutes with Colombia’s Diana Ospina having the best – and only – shot on target, but it didn’t have enough power to trouble the keeper.

Colombia began to find some rhythm, with Leicy Santos and Usme both going close.

With Colombia assuming control, Jamaica resorted to some clumsy challenges and Chantelle Swaby and Drew Spence both picked up yellow cards.

The breakthrough came six minutes after the restart with teenage World Cup debutant Ana Guzman pinging a beautiful ball to Usme, who took one touch before side-footing home.

Fired up, Jamaica almost had an immediate reply with Jody Brown’s shot cleared off the line.

Colombia then broke on a counter-attack which nearly led to Real Madrid sensation Linda Caicedo doubling the score.

Behind for the first time at the World Cup and facing the exit door, Jamaica abandoned their defensive posture and threw players forward in search of an equaliser.

Spence almost grabbed it with a header that spun just wide.

But Colombia hung on to keep their World Cup dream alive and almost scored a second at the death when Santos’s header hit the post.

France ease past Morocco to set up Australia clash

Eugenie Le Sommer scored twice as France eased to a 4-0 win over Morocco at the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday and set up a quarter-final with co-hosts Australia.

Morocco had upset the odds to qualify for the last 16 at the expense of Germany in their debut appearance at the tournament but they never managed to lay a glove on Herve Renard’s French side in Adelaide.

Kadidiatou Diani opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark and it was 3-0 just after the midway point in the first half as Kenza Dali and Le Sommer added further goals.

Veteran striker Le Sommer, who is France’s all-time top scorer, netted again 20 minutes from time before a crowd of 13,557 as Les Bleues advanced to the last eight with a minimum of fuss.

They will now play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, with the winners of that going on to play either England or Colombia in the semi-finals.

While France are desperate to win a first major women’s international title, Morocco came into this game with the pressure off, their World Cup already a huge success.

Their coach, the former French international midfielder Reynald Pedros, named an unchanged starting line-up following the 1-0 win over Colombia that sealed their place in the knockout phase.

Renard made five changes from the France side that beat Panama 6-3, including recalling Sakina Karchaoui at left-back.

Karchaoui, whose parents are Moroccan, set up the opener with a great run down the left flank, a quick exchange of passes with Selma Bacha, and a cross for Diani to nod in.

It was Diani’s fourth goal at the tournament after her hat-trick against Panama in the final group game.

The second goal arrived in the 20th minute as Diani cut the ball back for Dali to sweep home a first-time finish in off the far post.

And it was 3-0 three minutes after that following a defensive error, with Nesryne El Chad trying to clear but only succeeding in playing the ball off Diani, who set up Le Sommer.

At that point Morocco might have feared an even heavier defeat than the 6-0 hammering they received from Germany in their first game.

However, France took their foot off the pedal after that and only scored once more.

In the 70th minute substitute Vicki Becho crossed from the right for Le Sommer to head in her 92nd international goal at the back post.

2023 Women’s World Cup quarter-final line-up

Women’s World Cup quarter-final line-up after the completion of the round of 16 on Tuesday:

Friday, August 11 at 6:30AM IST — Spain v Netherlands

Friday, August 11 at 1:00PM IST —  Japan v Sweden

Saturday, August 12 at 12:30PM IST — Australia v France

Saturday, August 12 at 4:00PM IST