Spain, Germany and China secure safe passage to last 16
Germany topped Group B while Spain will face either the USA or Sweden next Monday
Lina Magull of Germany celebrates after scoring against South Africa. Photo: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA
Spain and China played out a goalless draw in their Women’s World Cup clash in Le Harve — with both sides securing progression into the last 16 as a result.
With a point enough to qualify both nations out of Group B alongside leaders Germany, it was Spain who had the better of the chances as the game ended 0-0.
A share of the spoils saw Jorge Vilda’s Spain finish as runners-up and China progress as one of the four third-placed sides with the best record.
Spain dominated possession and crafted enough opportunities to win the game but were kept out by a defiant Chinese defensive effort.
Lucia Garcia came close with an early strike wide of the post before a rare mistake in the China backline allowed Jenni Hermoso to get in a free header which was cleared off the line.
Nahikari Garcia also passed up a decent chance after being slipped through but it was in the closing stages where Spain nearly scored a winner.
China goalkeeper Peng Shimeng, who had almost cost her side a goal earlier in the contest after steaming off her line, made a great save to deny Patri Guijarro with just six minutes left on the clock.
With Germany topping the group following three wins out of three, Spain advance in second place and will meet the United States or Sweden next Monday in Reims.
Germany sealed that top spot in Group B by easing past past sorry South Africa with a 4-0 win.
Following narrow 1-0 results in their opening two matches against China and Spain, the reigning Olympic champions progressed to the last 16 in style, while their opponents were sent home after three defeats.
Melanie Leupolz put Germany in front after 14 minutes with a free header from close range in their final group match.
Leupolz’s former Bayern Munich team-mate Sara Dabritz — who signed for Paris St Germain in May — doubled Germany’s tally on the half-hour mark as she got on the scoresheet for the second successive game.
Germany left South Africa’s slim chances of qualifying in tatters five minutes before the break as Wolfsburg striker Alexandra Popp headed in a third goal to make any chance of a comeback seem unlikely in the second half.
Lina Magull reacted fastest to slot home from close range for Germany’s fourth just before the hour after Marina Hegering’s header moments earlier rebounded off the post.