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Barbra Banda, Zambia stun Germany in last game before World Cup

FUERTH, GERMANY - JULY 07: Barbra Banda of Zambia celebrates the team's third goal with teammates during the Women's international friendly between Germany and Zambia at Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer on July 07, 2023 in Fuerth, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images)

Zambia had already pulled off the improbable.

During Friday’s friendly match against Germany, Zambia — ranked No. 77 in the world by FIFA — was leading 2-0 heading into stoppage time.

But Germany, World No. 2 and one of the favorites heading into the 2023 Women’s World Cup, wasn’t going down without a fight. Lea Schueller scored a header in the first minute of stoppage time to make it 2-1. Nine minutes later, German captain Alexandra Popp scored what seemed to be the equalizer.

But Barbra Banda, the breakout star of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, had other plans. The Zambian captain capitalized on a poor throw-in from Germany’s Klara Buehl, out-sprinted her defender and launched the ball over German goalkeeper Merle Frohms.

Banda’s incredible goal — her second of the game — secured the 3-2 win for Zambia (video embedded below).

The win over Germany should give Zambia a confidence boost ahead of its first-ever Women’s World Cup appearance. Zambia will compete in Group C against Spain, Japan and Costa Rica.

Note: Following Friday’s World Cup send-off game, the Guardian reported that Zambian head coach Bruce Mwape has been accused of sexual misconduct and that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) referred an investigation to FIFA. You can read more about this development here.