Women's World Cup Results: Spain held by China, Germany thrash South Africa, France edge past Nigeria
China, Spain, and Norway became the latest teams to book their places in the last 16 of the 2019 Women's World Cup, joining hosts France, USA, Italy, and Germany.
Spain were held to a goalless draw by China at the Stade Oceane, with the Chinese setting up in an extremely conservative 4-4-2 formation, soaking up all the pressure, and trying to trouble the Iberian nation on the counter.
Both the nations finished level on points in Group B on four points each, with Spain occupying the second spot due to a superior goal difference.
China, however, went through to the next round by virtue of being one of the four best third-placed teams.
Spain peppered China's goal with nine attempts in the first half but failed to find a breakthrough.
The Chinese, on the other hand, stayed resolute, maintained their defensive shape and thwarted all of Spain's attacking ventures.
Germany thrash South Africa
Die Nationalelf crushed South Africa at La Mosson to seal top spot in Group B, with coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side punishing the tournament debutants' shabby display.
In fact, it was a bit surprising as to how Germany didn't register more than four goals against South Africa's brittle defence.
Melanie Leupolz opened the scoring for Germany, and an appalling error by South African goalkeeper Andile Dlamini gifted in-form Sara Dabritz a tap in, with the in-form midfielder scoring in successive games for her country for the first time since 2016.
Alexandra Popp notched up Germany's third with a header before the break and Lina Magull completed the rout by scoring the fourth from a yard out.
Germany, who are one of the favorites to win the title alongside the USA and hosts France, are slated to face a third-placed team from either Group A, C, or D in the round of 16.
France edge past Nigeria
Hosts France scrambled to secure a victory against Nigeria to seal top spot in Group A, with a controversial penalty decision gifting them three points against the Super Eagles.
Nigeria adopted an extremely physical approach in the first half of the game and as a result, there was no real ebb and flow to the encounter.
France failed to register a single shot on target for a substantial portion of the first half and opportunities from open play were tough to come by.
Their troubles were accentuated by sloppy passing in the final third and wayward finishing. Viviane Asseyi, who was making her World Cup debut, was tackled in the box by Ngozi Ebere and Les Blues were awarded a penalty after VAR consultation.
Wendie Renard stepped up to take the spot-kick and her attempt whizzed wide, clipping the post on the way out.
However, as fate would have it, Nigeria's goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was deemed to have come off her line early and the penalty had to be retaken.
Veteran Renard did not miss the second time around, blasting the ball into the top right corner in the 79th minute to seal France's top spot in the group.
Norway secure hard-fought win against South Korea
Elsewhere in Group A, Norway sealed their passage in the last 16 of the competition with a 1-2 victory against South Korea, eliminating them in the process.
South Korea applied intense pressure on the Norwegians, but their defense stood firm and thwarted all of Yoon Dukyeo's side's attacks.
Cho So-Hyun fouled Maria Thorisdottir in the opening stages of the game, and Caroline Graham Hansen slotted her penalty calmly into the bottom corner to give Norway an early lead.
South Korea almost equalized through Lee Guem-min, but her effort was saved well by Ingrid Hjelsmeth.
Norway then doubled their advantage in the early stages of the second half, after Hansen was fouled in the box.
This time, Isabell Herlovsen stepped up and calmly slotted home the penalty.
Coach Martin Sjogren expressed concern over star player Hansen's injury concern which saw her being hauled off in the second half.
"We want to have her back. We'll see how the injury is tomorrow," he said.
"It's extremely important to get her back but she's a tough woman and our medical staff are also good people."
"But I believe she will be back. She's a tough player."