History as Zambia bag first World Cup win

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Skipper Banda sighs with relief after consolation win over Costa Rica


Racheal Kundananji of Zambia celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's third goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Costa Rica and Zambia at Waikato Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Racheal Kundananji of Zambia celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's third goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Costa Rica and Zambia at Waikato Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Image: Buda Mendes

Hamilton - Debutants Zambia claimed their first ever victory at the Women's World Cup with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica at Waikato Stadium yesterday, although both teams were already out of contention for the knockout stage.

Zambia, whose first two games ended in 5-0 hammerings, finished third in Group C, with Japan top after their 4-0 thrashing of Spain. Costa Rica finished bottom and did not pick up a point in their three matches.


Defender Lushomo Mweemba scored the fastest goal of the tournament so far, with a spectacular volleyed effort at two minutes and 11 seconds, and captain Barbra Banda doubled the lead from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark.

Melissa Herrera cut the deficit two minutes after the break and Costa Rica pushed for an equaliser, but substitute Racheal Kundananji netted the third in stoppage time to ensure Zambia's debut World Cup campaign ended on a high.

"It's a historic day," Banda said. "We've had a lot of support back home so we wanted to win today ... It was not an easy game for us. It was a battle."

Zambia were awarded the spot kick after Banda went to ground inside the six yard box and the forward stepped up to calmly slot the ball into the bottom left corner, scoring the 1,000th goal in Women's World Cup history.

"I've been practicing penalties in training so I was confident," Banda added. "At the same time, I was nervous ... carrying the hopes of thousands of people back home. It was an honour for me to take that penalty."

Playing at their second World Cup, Costa Rica were still searching for their first win in the competition and scored two minutes after the break, when forward Herrera bundled the ball home after goalkeeper Catherine Musonda was unable to clear it.

Costa Rica appealed for a penalty when midfielder Priscila Chinchilla collided with Musonda in the box, but were denied after a lengthy VAR check when replays showed forward Sheika Scott was offside in the build-up.

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