In a momentous clash that held significant importance for both teams, Zambia secured its first-ever Women’s World Cup win with a thrilling 3-1 victory against Costa Rica on Monday. Despite being eliminated from the knockout stage before the match, the teams showcased their determination and fought fiercely until the final whistle.
Lushomo Mweemba, in a record-breaking feat, scored the fastest goal of the tournament, sending ripples of excitement through the stadium just 2 minutes and 11 seconds into the game. Avell Chitundu’s expertly placed corner kick found Mweemba, who deftly volleyed the ball into the net, leaving Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Daniela Solera with no chance.
Barbra Banda further etched her name in Women’s World Cup history by netting the 1,000th goal in the tournament’s prestigious record book. In the 31st minute, Banda confidently converted a penalty kick after being brought down in the box by Katherine Alvarado, extending Zambia’s lead.
The match was a testament to the teams’ competitive spirit, with the referee issuing five yellow cards and calling a total of 30 fouls in the fast-paced and intense contest.
Costa Rica displayed resilience and fought back in the 47th minute when Melissa Herrera used her chest to steer a cross over the line, scoring their lone goal of the match. The spirited Costa Rican side saw hopes of a potential penalty and another goal dashed away by offside calls later in the game.
More than 8,000 spectators filled Waikato Stadium, which has a capacity of 18,009, creating a vibrant atmosphere to witness this historic encounter.
Zambia made a scintillating start, opening their goal account in the tournament just 131 seconds into the match. Mweemba’s clinical finish swung the momentum in their favor as the Copper Queens dominated the first half. Banda then calmly converted a penalty, adding another chapter to Zambia’s remarkable journey.
In a late flourish, Rachael Kundananji sealed the victory for Zambia with a goal three minutes into injury time. Banda’s well-placed through ball set up Kundananji, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
Why It Matters
Zambia’s triumphant campaign at the Women’s World Cup will be remembered as a historic milestone for the team. In their inaugural appearance in the tournament, they claimed a memorable victory, finishing third in Group C with three points.
On the other hand, Costa Rica continues its quest for a first-ever Women’s World Cup win. Despite showing promise and determination, they were unable to secure a victory in both this edition and their previous appearance in 2015.
Both teams’ performances have left an indelible mark on the global stage, highlighting the growth and competitiveness of women’s football worldwide.