Allyson Swaby and Jamaica: It’s Gut-check Time

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GRENOBLE, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Allyson Swaby #17 of Jamaica clears the ball before Beatriz #16 of Brazil in the second half during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group C match between Brazil and Jamaica at Stade des Alpes on June 09, 2019 in Grenoble, France. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Editorial (June 12, 2019) – Allyson Swaby and the Reggae Girlz find themselves in a hole. They lost their first group stage match of the 2019 Women’s World Cup to Brazil 3-0. The defense gave up two penalties and defended poorly on several occasions. One of those PKs was for a handball by Swaby. The offense struggled as well with just three shots on goal, none of them dangerous.

Allyson Swaby and Jamaica: It’s Gut-check Time

Jamaica came into this tournament with a fantastic story and were media darlings of the tournament in many ways. They are World Cup debutantes and the first Caribbean Island nation to make it to the Women’s World Cup. They’ve done this all on the bank roll of Cedella Marley (Bob Marley’s daughter), who’s funded the team in part because the Jamaica Football Federation refused to properly fund the team.

This team is the definition of Reggae Girlz and are one of several inspiring examples of feminism and perseverance in the face of patriarchy in this tournament. Many labeled them as one of the more fun teams to watch aesthetically. They’re also raw and unproven on an the international stage.

Brazil proved that. Emphatically.

Jamaica were already in a tough position going into the tournament with Italy and Australia in their group. The last thing they needed was a blowout loss to Brazil where they didn’t play well. Chance creation was almost non-existent They made mistakes and were punished for them by Cristiane and company. The third goal of the game was especially inexcusable. The goal was called on the initial free kick by Cristine (bouncing off the crossbar and in), but three Brazilians made it to goalkeeper Sydney Schneider unchallenged by a Jamaican field player.

A performance like this will not be enough to get a needed win against Australia or Italy. Khadija Shaw and the other forwards need to get on the same page. Allyson Swaby and the back four must be sharper if they want to stop Italy and Barbara Bonansea on Friday.

There is a sense of inevitability with most of these Cinderella World Cup teams (think Iceland or Panama last summer in Russia): Yes, the team and the nation are delighted to be at the World Cup. But the reality is, qualifying was the accomplishment and just being there is so celebrated because it will inevitably end in heart break.

Making the World Cup is such a celebrated achievement because of how unlikely getting out of the group seems. Jamaica has two days to make that not the case against Italy.

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