Cameroon earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Thailand and Haiti stormed to a 4-0 win over Senegal as the final qualifying playoffs for the Women’s World Cup kicked off in New Zealand on Saturday.
Cameroon will face Portugal in Hamilton on Wednesday and Haiti will take on Chile in Auckland on the same day to secure two of the three remaining spots at the July 20-Aug. 20 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Four teams will play a straightforward knockout tournament starting on Sunday when Taiwan take on Paraguay in Hamilton and Papua New Guinea face Panama in Auckland. The winners will meet on Thursday in a game that will decide the final qualifier.
Cameroon, who reached the last 16 at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, triumphed at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton following two late goals from substitute Gabrielle Onguene in a chaotic match that featured 24 minutes of added time.
Onguene opened the scoring in the 79th minute by connecting with a squared pass from Ajara Nchout before wrapping up the victory with another sublime strike three minutes later.
Cameroon were reduced to 10 players deep into stoppage time when goalkeeper Ange Bawou was sent off after a lengthy VAR check for a foul on Jiraporn Mongkoldee.
Bawou, who came off her line and collided with the onrushing Mongkoldee, will miss Cameroon’s clash with Portugal.
Earlier, Haiti earned a comprehensive win after Roselord Borgella scored twice while Kethna Louis and Nerilia Mondesir bagged a goal each at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
Haiti took the lead in the 45th minute after defender Louis rose highest to head in a corner kick taken by midfielder Sherly Jeudy and captain Mondesir made it 2-0 in the 55th minute after slotting home a cross from fellow forward Melchie Dumonay.
Borgella scored the third in the 64th minute with a brilliant effort before adding another within two minutes to seal the win for Haiti, who are looking to qualify for the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
This year’s World Cup, where the United States are defending champions, will be the first edition to feature 32 teams.
Vietnam made history by qualifying for the tournament after a 2-1 victory in the play-off against Chinese Taipei in February last year. They will be in the same group with defending champions U.S.
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