FIFA Women’s World Cup: USA, Netherlands win to top groups; Cameroon qualify, but Chile endure heartbreaking exit
On the last day of group stage action at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, the Netherlands and defending champions USA confirmed their status as group winners, as both teams won their final games to finish top of Group E and Group F respectively.
Late Beerensteyn winner sinks Canada
Lineth Beerensteyn scored a 75th-minute winner as the Netherlands beat Canada in their final group game to top Group E. The Dutch dominated large spells of the game, and should’ve taken the lead before half-time, through their record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema.
After receiving a cross from Shanice van de Sanden, Miedema turned brilliantly before shooting across goal, and beating Canadian ‘keeper Stephanie Labbé all ends up, only to see the ball hit the post and stay out.
The Dutch took the lead in the 54th minute through Anouk Dekker, who got on the end of a set-piece to beat Labbe, with the ball eventually coming off her shoulder.
Christine Sinclair got her first goal of the tournament, to bring the Canadians back level with a tidy finish at the far-post. Sinclair has now scored in five World Cups for Canada.
However, Danielle van de Donk’s low was converted by Beerensteyn to give the Dutch another victory. The Oranje will now face Japan in the Round of 16, while Canada will do battle with Spain, who finished second in Group F.
Late drama propels Cameroon to Round of 16
Cameroon qualified for the Round of 16, as one of the four best third-placed sides after some late drama at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier.
After Ajara Nchout had given the Africans the lead in the 57th minute, calamity seemingly struck in the 80th minute when a New Zealand cross from the right wing was skewed into her own net by defender Aurelle Awona.
Yet, deep into injury time, Nchout stepped up again, with a stunning solo effort to send the ball past Erin Nayler in the Football Ferns’ goal, and propel Cameroon into the next round, as one of two African teams in the knockout stages, along with Nigeria.
Cameroon will face Phil Neville’s England side in the Round of 16 in Valenciennes on Sunday.
USA top Group F with routine win
The USA, like the Netherlands, confirmed their position as Group F winners, with a 2-0 win over Sweden ensuring they finished their group stage commitments with 18 goals scored and none conceded.
Lindsay Horan gave the US the lead with a third-minute goal from close range, the fastest goal at this tournament so far. The US had a few more chances to increase their lead in the first half, but Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe missed chances.
But the US weren’t to be denied for too long after the restart, with a Jonna Andersson own-goal, after Heath’s shot had struck the Swedish defender, and went past Hedvig Lindahl in goal.
Sweden had already qualified for the Round of 16, and by virtue of finishing second, they will now face Canada in the Round of 16.
The US will face Spain in the Round of 16 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune II in Reims on Monday.
Late penalty miss sees Chile knocked out
Chile peppered the Thailand goal throughout the game, but in the end, only ran out 2-0 winners, after hitting the woodwork three times through the game. A 3-0 win would’ve sent Chile through to the knockouts, and they were well on their way.
In the first half, they couldn’t break the deadlock, but an own goal from Thai ‘keeper Waraporn Boonsing set them on their way in the 50th minute. After a host of other missed chances, Maria Jose Urrutia scored Chile’s second in the 80th minute.
Francisca Lara’s 86th-minute penalty could’ve sent Chile through, but instead, she smashed it onto the crossbar, to leave the South Americans one goal short of making the knockout stages.