Having been billed as the underdogs in Group H ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup commencing on July 20, Colombia find themselves sitting comfortably at the top of the table – with their qualification to the round-of-sixteen all but confirmed.
With the pressure off Colombian shoulders, it’ll be fascinating to see how Nelson Abadía’s side perform in Perth on Thursday. As the only team in the group to have registered two wins so far, they’re expected to make it three from three against the Moroccan minnows – but shock results have been available in abundance so far throughout the tournament.
Las Cafeteras commenced their campaign with a 2-0 win over South Korea, but really stole the headlines after Linda Caicedo starred in a fiercely contested win against Germany last time out. Securing three points against the second-best team in the world according to FIFA’s latest rankings is no mean feat – but Colombia never looked to falter, even as Alex Popp levelled the match for the Germans in the 89th minute.
Morocco also recorded a win on Matchday Two, as Reynald Pedros’ side clinched a slender victory over South Korea. It was a much needed respite for the Atlas Lionesses, who had been forced to endure a rather dire six-goal drubbing at the hands of Germany in their opening fixture.
Just a point against Morocco would mathematically ensure Colombia progress, though that looks almost certain anyway. Germany would need to defeat South Korea – and more importantly, Colombia would need to lose to Morocco by a five-goal margin – for that to change.
Morocco would be able to progress if they record a better result than Germany, who will be playing concurrently against South Korea. Of course, they could also snatch Colombia’s qualification spot regardless of the German result – but that would depend on them outscoring las Cafeteras by a five-goal margin, which seems rather optimistic for a team that has scored just once at the tournament thus far.
Having registered a win last time out, Reynald Pedros is expected to name an unchanged Moroccan eleven to start this final group stage fixture.
His counterpart, Nelson Abadía, will likely be forced to make changes – with Jorelyn Carabali a doubt after being stretchered off in stoppage time of Colombia’s historic win against Germany. We’d expect an otherwise unchanged lineup though.
Morocco: Er-Rmichi; Aït El Haj, Ben Zina, El Chad, Redouani; Ouzraoui, Nakkach, Chebbak, Tagnaout; Amani; Jraïdi
Colombia: Pérez; C. Arias, Ramos, D. Arias, Vanegas; Bedoya, Montoya; Andrade, Usme, Caicedo; Ramirez