Colombian 18-year-old Linda Caicedo scores three days after collapsing in upset win over Germany

Linda Caicedo - Colombian 18-year-old Linda Caicedo scores three days after collapsing in upset win over Germany

Caicedo’s collapse in training triggered alarm bells due to her history of battling ovarian cancer – AFP/Franck Fife

Colombia’s 18-year-old sensation Linda Caicedo recovered from mysteriously collapsing in training on Thursday to scoring a wonder goal on Sunday that helped her team produce one of the Women’s World Cup’s all-time great shocks as they beat Germany 2-1 in Sydney.

Real Madrid forward Caicedo, who is no stranger to overcoming setbacks having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged 15 and recovering after six months of chemotherapy, was subject to another health scare when she put her hand to her chest and laid down on the grass at Colombia’s training pitch mid-session on Thursday.

Colombia’s medical staff later said she “is well and all is back to normal” ahead of their dramatic fixture against one of the tournament favourites, Germany.

In front of a raucous crowd in Sydney which was dominated by Colombian fans, Caicedo opened the scoring as she skilfully jinked inside two German defenders and then rifled a sweet strike into the far top corner of the net. It was her second goal of the World Cup after she had also netted in her side’s opening 2-0 victory over South Korea on July 25.

European finalists Germany appeared to have denied Colombia when they levelled through an 89th-minute Alexandra Popp penalty, but Manuela Vanegas’s 97th-minute header from a corner won the game dramatically and triggered bedlam in the stands at the Sydney Football Stadium. The victory is undoubtedly one of the finest in Colombia’s football history.

That stunning result puts Colombia top of Group H and all-but through to the last 16, yet leaves second-placed Germany, one of the pre-tournament favourites, still with some work to do to reach the knockout stages. It could put the Germans on a collision course to meet France in the last 16, with the French currently topping Group F with a round of matches to go.

For co-hosts New Zealand, however, their dream is over, as they became the first Women’s World Cup hosts to be eliminated at the group stage as they were held to a goalless draw with Switzerland in the concluding night in Group A. That saw the Swiss through as group winners, and they were joined by Norway, who beat the Philippines 6-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Sophie Roman Haug.

For New Zealand, who had started the campaign remarkably by shocking 1995 champions Norway in the opening fixture, their undoing was in losing their second fixture against the Philippines, who were also eliminated on Sunday. Switzerland and Norway will play the runners-up and winners from Group C respectively, which will be either Spain or Japan.

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