The final round of group matches are upon us at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
On Monday, host nation France were looking to secure top spot in their group while tournament heavyweights Germany were also in action.
Nigeria Women 0-1 France Women
The video assistant referee helped hosts France to victory over Nigeria at the World Cup to seal top spot in Group A.
The game in Rennes remained goalless until the final 15 minutes, with Wendie Renard scoring a penalty at the second attempt to secure a 1-0 win.
Referee Melissa Borjas awarded a spot-kick after consulting VAR and adjudging that Viviane Asseyi had been taken down by Ngozi Ebere – who was shown a second yellow card for the challenge.
Renard stepped up and smashed the penalty against the post, only for VAR to once again fall in favour of France.
Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stepped off her line before Renard struck the ball and Borjas ordered a retake, with the Lyon defender making no mistake second time around.
Asseyi missed a decent early chance to put France ahead at Roazhon Park on a night when they passed up plenty of opportunities to wrap up the win.
Valerie Gauvin and Amandine Henry both missed headers, with the pattern of play continuing after the break with Delphine Cascarino firing wide.
It took until the 65th minute for the first shot on target as Amel Majri drew a simple save out of Nnadozie.
The penalty incident followed soon after as France secured the win, with Nigeria’s place in the competition still up in the air as they hope to end the group stage as one of the four best third-placed sides.
South Korea Women 1-2 Norway Women
Norway progressed to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup after scoring a penalty in each half as they held off South Korea for a 2-1 Group A victory at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.
They have qualified in second place behind France.
Norway got on the scoresheet with the earliest goal of this year’s finals so far as new Barcelona signing Caroline Graham Hansen picked out the bottom-left corner with a fifth-minute spot-kick after Cho So-hyun brought down Maria Thorisdottir.
South Korea had numerous chances to draw level and they began to dominate soon after the opener as Yeo Min-ji had a header saved before Kang Chae-rim fired wide and Ji So-yun was also denied before the break.
But Kang conceded her side’s second penalty of the match six minutes after the break for a foul on Hansen and Isabell Herlovsen made no mistake as she slotted home from the spot to double Norway’s lead.
Opening scorer Hansen succumbed to her injuries moments later following the collision and was replaced by Frida Maanum.
Yeo pulled one back for South Korea with 12 minutes remaining as she tapped Lee Geum-min’s assist home for their first goal of the tournament.
She headed wide at the death with a chance to go level but Norway held on as their opponents failed to record a point in the group stage and go home from France empty-handed.
Next up, Norway face the runners-up of Group C – Brazil or Australia – in the round-of-16 on Saturday.
South Africa Women 0-4 Germany Women
Germany sealed top spot in Group B as they eased past sorry South Africa with a 4-0 Women’s World Cup victory in Montpellier on Monday.
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.
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.
China Women 0-0 Spain Women
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.
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.
Spain advance in second place and will meet the United States or Sweden next Monday in Reims.