The South Americans assure their place in the semifinals.
July 14, 2022 by Edward Stephens in News with 0 comments
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The second game of the afternoon session, while not quite as electric as the German upset that preceded it, featured another strong push from a European side against one of the tournament favorites. Unfortunately for France, their valiant effort was not enough to derail Colombia: the game ended in the South Americans’ favor with a respectable 13-10 line. The win puts Colombia, as well as 2-0 pool mates Australia, into the tournament semifinals no matter what happens in their Day 3 match to decide the pool.
France were not in good form on offense to start the match. Small mistakes on their first five offensive possessions turned quickly into a formidable 3-0 deficit as Manu Cárdenas, Valeria Cárdenas, and Jose Jiménez pressed quickly into endzone attacks, rarely giving France a chance to prepare for the counter. After a timeout, France settled down and played much more reliable offense. But the damage was done. Each of the first three games of the day showed the value of an early lead; the last was no different.
The French made a valiant attempt to come back, evening the score at 6-6 before Colombia closed out the half. Both blocks came on rare glimpses of vulnerability from Yina Cartagena. She did not adjust the looks she ended up selecting when it became clear that France would play tight defense away from the disc, and the disc did not leave her hand with the same authority as we are used to seeing from her – if that is a trend, it will be more worrisome in the bracket.
Sullivan Roblet was more than happy to cash in the mistakes. He scored all four of his goals in the first half as France charged back in the game. More of the French men got in on the deep receiving action: Eric Becker, Vincent Lepagnol, and Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky were effective downfield targets for Quentin Roger throughout the match. Roger, it must be said, continued to launch some spectacular throws. Pauline Berte (defensive playmaking) and Florence Capelle (quick offense) also had moments in the limelight, though by and large the impact of France’s women in this game was muted compared to Day 1.
At the end of the day, the Colombians were too stingy with the disc to allow much headway for France. Even with Cartagena’s disturbing errors and an adventurous early point from Manu Cárdenas (in which she threw the disc away twice before leaving every onlooker stunned by a filthy backhand blade), Colombia mostly kept to their systems. By now they are familiar tropes: quick strikes whenever they are expedient, small reset windows, and infinite patience on the goal line.
Valeria Cárdenas was the star of the match for Colombia. She finished with four assists and two goals — two of the assists were of the spectacular variety. Other standouts included Elizabeth Mosquera (3G) and Jimenez (4G), not to mention strong supporting performances from Julio Duque, Alexander Ford, and Mangi Forero. As Colombia ramp up for the bracket, it will be fascinating to see how they manage to improve on two very solid outings.