France finished top of Group F thanks to a 6-3 victory over Panama and therefore advance to the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup. Kadidiatou Diani, wearing the armband in the absence of Wendie Rénard, scored a hat-trick in the nine-goal-thriller.
Panama entered the final Group Stage match with no prospects of progression. Nonetheless, the Central American side took the lead thanks to a stunning Marta Cox free-kick in the opening minutes. However, Les Bleues quickly wrestled control of the game.
Maëlle Lakrar met Clara Matéo’s cross to level the score midway through the first half. France then took the lead just minutes later through Diani, who then doubled her tally from the penalty spot before the end of the first half. It would get even better for France before the break. Léa Le Garrec’s cross-turned shot found the back of the net deep in injury time.
The game was over as a contest, but the goals continued to flow in the second half. Diani completed her hat-trick with another strike from the spot. Goals from Yomira Piinzón and Lineth Cedeño, who headed into an empty net late on reduced the deficit to just two goals, but France restored a three-goal cushion late in injury time thanks to Vicki Bècho’s first goal for Les Bleues. The 6-3 victory sees France progress as group winners. They will face the runners-up from Group H.