FOOTBALL – In the last of the matches before the final 16 are determined of the FIFA Women´s World Cup, Spain took on Japan. Both sides had already qualified regardless of what happened on the pitch. However, the game was non-the-less thrilling.
Fifa Women´s World Cup
The Republic of Ireland played their final game and drew 0-0 against Nigeria knowing that not even a victory would allow them to progress. However, the draw meant Nigeria were knocked off the top of the table, and went through in second place behind host country Australia.
Japan v Spain
Just 12 minutes in, and Miyazawa scored for Japan. Then just before the 30-minute mark, on the back of a counter-attack, Miyazawa found Ueki on the left side of the box. And with a deflection coming off Paredes, Ueki beat Misa, putting the ball into the net. It was 2-0 for Japan.
Ten minutes later, the Japanese due struck again. This time, it was Ueki that assisted, and once again, Miyazawa sent the ball to the top left-hand corner.
When the half-time whistle blew, it was 3-0 to Japan.
Miyazawa was denied the chance at a hat-trick as she was rested at half time with Fujino coming on as her sub.
The game continued with very few chances for Spain.
Then, in the final 10 minutes of normal time, Japan made it 4-0. This time, it was from their number 11, Tanaka.
Tanaka had another good chance at goal, but was brought down by Hernández who received a yellow card for her trouble. Although Spain had by far the majority of possession and passes, Japan were the stronger side.
Both teams go through to the round of 16. Spain will face Switzerland on Saturday August 5 at 7.00 am local time, with Japan playing against Norway 3 hours later.
Today saw some amazing goals in the battle to qualify for the final 16. The following games were played;
- Vietnam v Netherlands
- Portugal v United States
- China v England
- Haiti v Denmark
Vietnam v Netherlands
Apart from Vietnam who had failed to score in the competition, the other 3 countries were all looking for a win to consolidate their position in the rankings. Before kickoff, Netherlands were in second place on goal difference to title holders USA. Despite Vietnam having no chance of progression, the opening minutes were very much in their favour with a couple of chances. However, the Netherlands soon put paid to that when in the 8th minute, Martens effortlessly put the ball over the keeper and into the net. It was 0-1 for the Netherlands.
Then, just 3 minutes later, Van de Donk charged through the midfield before sending the ball to her right. Snoeijs was unmarked and took the opportunity to put the ball in the bottom right corner of the net.
It seemed the Netherlands were on a mission to score as many goals as possible. They were all over the Vietnamese side.
The third goal came in under 20 minutes of play when Brugts scored a blinder from 25 yards. The Netherlands had to keep pushing as depending on the result of the other game in their group, it could all come down to goal difference.
What an amazing game! Only 5 minutes later, Roord claimed the 4th goal for the Netherlands. Four goals in just 23 minutes. Meanwhile it was still 0-0 between Portugal and the USA. However, this did not mean things were guaranteed for the Netherlands side. Although the game calmed down a little somewhat, the atmosphere felt there was more to come.
And indeed it did. On the 45th minute, Van de Donk made it 5 goals to nil. There was one more chance for the Netherlands, but the first half ended in an impressive 5 goal lead.
Going into the second half, with 5 goals from 5 different scorers, the Netherlands were topping the table as the Portugal v USA game was still goalless. The Vietnamese side changed their goalkeeper. Although 5 goals were conceeded, she also managed to make some magnificent saves. It could have been a lot worse!
Then Brugts got her second of the match, 12 minutes into the second half with almost an exact copy of her first with a another strike from 25 yards out. During the next 15 minutes, there could have been at least another 3 goals for the Netherlands, but they were denied. But eventually, number 7 came when Roord claimed her second of the match in the 83rd minute.
The game ended 0-7 despite even more chances during the 7 minutes added for stoppage time. Portugal v USA ended 0-0 which meant USA finished second in the table and go through with the Netherlands into the final 16. Portual and Vietnam go home.
China v England
Aside from Haiti, everyone in this group had to pull it out the back today to guarantee progressing. England just needed to avoid defeat, which was no easy task especially since they won their first two matches by only one goal to nil.
However, 4 minutes in, and England got their first goal. With a pass from James to Russo, she slotted it into the near post. What a start!
England kept pushing, and China kept trying, but they couldn´t seem to keep possession long enough to make an impact. The pushing paid off, when after 26 minutes, England got their second with a goal from Hemp.
A few minutes before half time, England were awarded a free kick from a very good position as Chen took Russo´s legs from under her. Greenwood stepped up, and pulled it back to James who had no-one marking her on the edge of the D. James made it look simple as she curled it into the net making it 0-3 for England.
Seven minutes of stoppage time were added to the first half. With 2 minutes to go, James scored again. However, after VAR checked the footage, they ruled it out for offside. Even after it was disallowed, there was still some controversy, but in the end it remained 0-3 for England as the sides went down the tunnel for half time.
The first 10 minutes of the second half, China showed some determination. They were then awarded a penalty after a review by VAR. Shuang was confident as she stepped up, and claimed one back from the English side. The margin had now narrowed and it was 1-3.
The next 10 minutes seemed all over the place as both sides tried to claim ownership. However, a volley from James made it 1-4. Less than half an hour to go, and it was looking impossible for England to lose.
After a series of substitutions for both sides, there was goal action once again in the 77th minute. James was involved once again as she assisted in the 5th goal for the English side. James lifted the ball in a bounce over the keeper to Kelly who neatly placed it in the net. Yet another amazing goal for the Lionesses. With 2 goals, James was denied her chance at a hattrick as she was taken off and rested.
Then, just 6 minutes before the end of normal time, another VAR decision was awaited. The number 9 shirt, Daly received a pass from Coombs that she volleyed into the net. The VAR decision which was checking for offside, came back, and the goal stood. An incredible 1-6 for England.
In the dying minutes, China pushed forward. But despite a whopping 11 minutes added for stoppage time, they failed to make any real impact whatsoever.
The game finished with England winning and qualifying for the final 16. The Haiti v Denmark game finished 0-2. This means Denmark go through along with England into the final 16. China and Haiti go home.
Round of 16
The top 2 teams from each group go through to the round of 16. In the round of 16, this is a knock out round to make it to the final 8.
In the knockout stage, if a match is level at the end of 90 minutes of normal playing time, extra time will be played (two periods of 15 minutes each), where each team is allowed to make a sixth substitution. If the game is still tied after extra time, the match will be decided by a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.
So far the matches confirmed for the final 16 are as follows;
Saturday August 5
- Switzerland v Spain
- Japan v Norway
Sunday August 6
- Netherlands v TBD
- TBD v USA
Monday August 7
- England v Nigeria
- Australia v Denmark
The final group stage games
The other 4 teams in the final 16 will be decided tomorrow and the next day as the following group stage games are played;
- Argentina v Sweden
- South Africa v Italy
- Panama v France
- Jamaica v Brazil
- Morocco v Columbia
- South Korea v Germany