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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Zambia women finish series of pre-World Cup friendlies with excellent victory over Germany

Out of the four African national teams set to compete at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the Copper Queens of Zambia may be a side that can surprise and they showed their quality on Friday. Zambia stunned the two-time world champions and number two ranked team in the world with a 3-2 victory in Fürth to wrap up a series of friendly matches against European competition that saw the results improve over the three-match stretch.

The third place finishers at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations did not have star forward Barbra Banda due to a controversial judgment based on a gender verification test but the team look much more formidable since she was cleared to play. After a first half that ended scoreless, Banda gave Zambia a surprise lead inside the opening three minutes of the second half with an excellent low finish off the post. Racheal Kundananji doubled Zambia’s lead five minutes later.

Germany finally found their response during an extended period of second half stoppage time. Lea Schüller headed in a corner kick in the first minute before captain Alexandra Popp added her own header from a cross in the tenth minute. With the teams apparently set for a draw, however, Banda struck again by winning the race to a ball behind the defense and looping a sublime finish over the goalkeeper to win it for the Copper Queens.

Highlights of the match from the German Football Association’s YouTube channel are below. Zambia end their European tour with the victory following a 3-3 draw with Switzerland and a 2-3 defeat to Ireland. The Copper Queens will kick off their World Cup campaign in Group C against Japan on July 22 before facing Spain and Costa Rica.