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Tuesday, 18 June 2019 00:00

France beat Falcons 1-0, qualify for Women’s World Cup last 16

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France beat Nigeria’s Super Falcons 1-0 during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group A football match on Monday to reach the round of 16.

Wendie Renard confirmed top spot for France after downing Nigeria with a spot-kick of her own.

France will take on one of the four best third-placed finishers following their 1-0 win, but face the prospect of tackling defending champions the USA in the quarter-finals should the Americans as expected top Group F and win their subsequent last 16 tie.

The French needed a point to take first place in the group but Renard gave them all three from the spot at the second attempt, after Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was judged to have encroached for Renard’s first effort, which hit the post.

“I thought to myself ‘this is not my day …’ (but) I took my responsibility and I decided to retake it,” said Renard.

“In high level sport if you’re not mentally prepared there’s no point you being there.”

Germany meanwhile ensured they missed the Americans in the next round after they topped Group B with a perfect nine points following a comprehensive 4-0 win over South Africa earlier on Monday.

It could instead be Spain, who qualify for the next round in second place behind the Germans after a goalless draw with also-through China, to play the world’s best team.

– Stalemate –

Both the Spaniards and former runners-up China knew a point in Le Havre would take them through to the knockout phase from Group B, and they transpired to play out a stalemate.

Spain did threaten to take all three points late on, but China goalkeeper Peng Shimeng made key saves in the last 10 minutes, getting down low to keep out a Patri Guijarro strike and then reaching to tip over a Jennifer Hermoso effort.

China finished behind Spain on goal difference but will progress as one of the best third-place finishers.

Former world champions Germany had no trouble dispensing with South Africa in Montpellier, as the Banyana Banyana go home from their first World Cup without a point thanks to goals from Melanie Leupolz, Sara Daebritz, Alexandra Popp and Lina Magull.

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