FIFA Women's World Cup: France defeats Panama 6-3 to advance to round of 16text_fields
Sydney: France defeated Panama 6-3 on Wednesday to advance to the FIFA Women's World Cup's round of 16 despite giving up a goal just 67 seconds into the match.
Fifth-ranked France won Group F with seven points in Sydney thanks to a hat-trick from Kadidiatou Diani. Brazil was eliminated after a goalless match, placing Jamaica in second place, according to a Xinhua report.
After a sluggish scoreless draw against Jamaica, France ignited their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Brazil but received an early scare against underdog Panama.
Only needing a draw to qualify, France was stunned in the second minute when Panama captain Marta Cox scored a spectacular goal from a long-range free-kick. It was Panama's first World Cup goal with a teary-eyed Cox emotional in celebration.
A rattled France went on the attack and was rewarded in the 21st minute through a goal from Maelle Lakrar.
France found their rhythm and hit the front in the 28th minute when Diani scored on her second attempt. She added another through a penalty kick after a Panama handball in the box and France's domination was complete when Lea Le Garrec scored moments before half-time.
France maintained their intent after the interval with Diani completing her hat-trick with one more penalty kick after another Panama handball in the box.
Panama received consolation goals when Yomira Pinzon scored a penalty and Lineth Cedeno headed home late with France's intensity easing, but Vicki Becho capped the goal feast deep into stoppage time as France will await their round of 16 opponent with Group H in action on Thursday.
With inputs from IANS