Copper Queen’s dreams of reaching the round 16 of the 2023 Women’s World Cup are over after they were thrashed 5-0 by Spain in their second Group C clash in Auckland, New Zealand.
Spain and Japan became the first two countries to pass through to the knockout stages of the World Cup after impressive 5: 0 victories over Zambia.
Coach Bruce Mwape had named a largely unchanged side that lost to Japan 5;0 in the opening game , except that goalie Eunice Sakala made her full debut, replacing Catherine Musonda who was serving suspension after she was shown a red card in the match against Japan.
Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso was a player to look out for in the match and her reputation preceded her as her exceptional performance sent Zambia to the ruins.
An early goal from Teresa Abelleira in the 9th minute put Spain in the lead before an unmarked Jennifer Hermoso added another goal through a header from an Alexia Putellas cross to find the back of the net in the 13th minute.
Zambia did create some half-chances that troubled the Spanish side, through forward Barbra Banda but could not materialize into goals.
The Spaniards scored three second half goals to kill off the game and confirm Zambia’s elimination from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Zambia missed the presence of first choice goalkeeper Hazel Nali and Midfielder Grace Chanda after they were ruled out of the World Cup.
And President Hakainde Hichilema took to his Facebook page to console and encourage the copper queens.
The head of state said the team has faced defeat, but recognized that every loss comes with pain and opportunities for growth for the team.
He urged football administrators to provide the team with more exposure through competitive friendlies in order to strengthen the women’s league.
The Copper Queens and Costa Rica are the first teams to be knocked out of the competition after their failure to pick a point from their first two games.
Japan and Spain sit at the top with six points each and are guaranteed a place in the next round of the competition.
The two former champions will play on Monday to decide who gets the top spot of the group while World Cup debutants Zambia, will play Costa Rica on the same day in their formality game.