Italy book place in last eight of World Cup

Italy will face either the Netherlands or Japan in quarter-finals

The Italy players celebrate after the match. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

The Italy players celebrate after the match. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

 

Italy 2 China 0

Italy eased past China 2-0 in Montpellier to secure their place in the last eight of the Women’s World Cup.

Valentina Giacinti and Aurora Galli struck in either half to set up a quarter-final clash with either the Netherlands or Japan on Saturday.

China were always up against it following Giacinti’s early opener and are eliminated having scored just once in their four games in the finals.

AC Milan forward Giacinti had already seen an effort chalked out for offside and was presented with a fine chance following a misplaced pass out of the China defence.

She would break the deadlock at the third time of asking, Chinese goalkeeper Peng Shimeng doing well to keep out Elisa Bartoli’s effort only for Giacinti to tuck home the rebound.

China responded well and saw a video assistant referee check deny them a penalty before Wang Yen’s long-range strike drew a save out of Laura Giuliani.

Valentina Bergamaschi and Sara Gama came close to doubling the lead before the break but it was China who hit the woodwork through Li Ying’s header ahead of the interval.

Galli came off the bench and secured the win for Italy four minutes after the restart as China stood off her and allowed the Juventus midfielder to bury her chance from 30 yards out.

China, so defensive throughout the group stage, pushed forward in the hope of staging an unlikely comeback.

Wang Shuang, Han Peng, Li Ying, and Zhang Rui all had half-chances but could not set up a grandstand end to the encounter, with Italy seeing out the remainder of the game to advance.

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