Panama 3-6 France: Kadi Diani hat-trick helps France reach Round of 16

In an action-packed match at the Women’s World Cup, France overcame a tough challenge from Panama to claim victory in a nine-goal thriller, securing the top spot in Group F. Despite Panama’s early lead from Marta Cox’s impressive free-kick, France displayed their dominance in Sydney. Kadi Diani emerged as the standout performer, bagging a remarkable hat-trick, which included two successful penalty conversions.

Panama managed to find the back of the net through Yomira Pinzon and Lineth Cedeno, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. With this victory, France advances to the round of 16, where they will face the runners-up from Group H, potentially setting up a clash with Germany.

France Triumphs in Nine-Goal Thriller, Secures Top Spot in Group F, Improving France’s Rise to the Top

France faced hurdles on their path to the round of 16 at this World Cup, encountering a draw with Jamaica in their opener and requiring a late winner against Brazil. However, in their latest match, they were taken aback by Cox’s brilliance as Panama surged ahead with Marta Cox’s impressive free-kick.

Undeterred by the early setback, France swiftly regained their composure and asserted their dominance on the field. Their sustained pressure led to an own goal by Deysire Salazar, who inadvertently deflected Maelle Lakrar’s header into the net.

In fine form, Kadi Diani continued to be a significant threat to France. After Vicki Becho opened up Panama’s defense with a skillful cut-back pass, Diani nearly scored with a backheel. Still, she managed to capitalize on the rebound, guiding the ball past covering defender Wendy Natis and into the net via the crossbar.

With the match firmly in their grasp, France sealed the deal with three points and claimed the top spot in the group when Yomira Pinzon handled the ball in the box, resulting in a penalty, which Diani confidently converted. Before the half-time whistle, Le Garrec’s deep cross reached the top corner, eluding everyone, including Panama’s goalkeeper Yenith Bailey.

The stand-in captain Diani showcased her growing influence on the pitch, completing her hat-trick with another successful penalty after the break, courtesy of Natis’ handball.

Manager Herve Renard’s decision to rest captain Wendie Renard and all-time top scorer Eugenie le Sommer proved justified as the squad depth came to the fore. 19-year-old Becho, replacing Le Sommer in the starting lineup, contributed her own goal in second-half stoppage time, marking her first senior international goal.

Having overcome some initial challenges, France is poised to be a genuine threat in the upcoming knockout stages. Their resilience and depth will undoubtedly be instrumental in their pursuit of further success in the tournament.

Panama’s magic moments

Despite the disappointment in not progressing to the last 16, Panama found a shining beacon in their inspirational captain, Cox. The 14-year-old international debutante made her mark right from the start, demonstrating her tenacity by driving forward and winning a crucial foul, resulting in a free-kick opportunity. Cox executed the free-kick to perfection, sending the ball soaring into the top corner from an impressive 30 yards.

However, Panama encountered a formidable opponent and was outclassed by a superior side, trailing 4-1 before half-time. Amid the struggle, the players held a tense and spontaneous on-pitch meeting before heading to the tunnel.

Nevertheless, Panama’s youthful squad, with 11 out of 23 players aged 23 and under, will undoubtedly gain invaluable experience from this tournament. The team exhibited further magic moments during the match, with Pinzon converting from the spot, although the penalty had to be retaken due to a stuttering run-up. Additionally, Cedeno contributed a goal with a well-placed header following a deep free-kick, which was misjudged by keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, and ricocheted off the bar.

While Panama’s FIFA World Cup journey may be ending, their young and promising squad has displayed moments of brilliance, providing hope for a bright future in international football. Cox’s inspirational performance serves as a testament to the potential that lies within the team.


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