Debutants Colombia snatch vital point

Columbia, who were making their debut in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, were delighted to rescue a point in their opening Group A fixture as they scored late on to earn a 1-1 draw against France who had previously never drawn a game in 13 tournament matches.

In a cautious affair in Bochum, France seized a fine 16th minute lead through Marina Makanza with Lady Andrade equalising for the South American nation with just four minutes remaining. Makanza struck an eye-catching goal, surging onto a loose ball and powering past two defenders before finding the net with an angled right-footed drive. 

Rose Lavaud came into the picture as things speeded up – first making a long-distance attempt and then when she was stopped closer to goal by Colombia captain Natalia Gaitan. Ricardo Rozo's team were struggling to create chances at this stage though nearer the break Ingrid Vidal and Tatiana Ariza did manage to threaten before the offside flag stopped them in their tracks.

Both sides made changes in the second half and as the game wore on France goalkeeper Laetitia Philippe became more involved and had to make a couple of saves. Following a corner France attempted to double their advantage but they were off target.

Andrade was booked in the 84th minute and it looked as if that might be how she would remember her afternoon’s work. But then to the relief of the Colombian team, two second-half substitutes took the initiative down the left and it led to the equaliser. Ana Maria Montoya's initial good work was followed up splendidly by Katerin Castro who evaded two challenges before giving Andrade an easy opportunity to score.

That’s how the game finished with both sides collecting a point to trail host nation Germany who earlier had put three points on the board by defeating Costa Rica. It is Colombia’s turn to face Germany next while France take on the Costa Ricans, both Friday fixtures taking place in Bochum.