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Women’s World Cup: Spain and China reach last 16 after 0-0 stalemate

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Women’s World Cup 2019: Spain and China both reach last 16 after goalless draw

Spain and China played out a goalless draw that ensured both sides progress to the Women’s World Cup last 16.

Spain qualify for the knockout stages as Group B runners-up, level on four points with China who are guaranteed to finish as a best third-placed side.

Germany sealed their position as group winners, beating South Africa 4-0.

Jorge Vilda’s Spain qualify from the World Cup group stages for the first time in their history, having made their tournament debut in 2015.

China, who continue their record of having never failed to progress from their group, avoid a potential last-16 encounter with defending champions the United States – but could face England should Phil Neville’s side top Group E.

Teams in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup
England Italy
Germany France
The Netherlands Canada
Sweden USA
Japan Germany
Spain China

In a game of limited opportunities, Lucia Garcia missed the chance to hand Spain an early advantage in Le Havre as she shot wide from Mariona Caldentey’s cross.

China rarely threatened but remained defensively sound – despite prolific Atletico Madrid striker Jennifer Hermoso’s increasing influence as the Europeans dominated possession.

Last season’s Liga Femenina Golden Boot winner Hermoso found herself closed down rapidly throughout, but the 29-year-old arrowed a powerful header towards the bottom corner to draw a fine save from goalkeeper Peng Shimeng five minutes before the interval.

Nahikari Garcia dragged wide as the second half followed a similar pattern, while Patricia Guijarro had a low shot blocked by Shimeng late on.

‘We’re happy to qualify’ – what they said

Spain coach Jorge Vilda: “Of course we’re happy to qualify for the round of 16, we’re continuing to make history. We knew a draw was a possibility, it would’ve been good to have scored but I think today the Chinese goalkeeper was very, very good.”

China coach Jia Xiuguan: “To build a strong team, it needs generations, it cannot just be done over one generation. Also we see the gap between us and the world-class teams. It’s very difficult, no matter who our opponents are.

“Although it was a draw, we got one point which means we have the opportunity to continue to the next level. That’s why I’m so touched by our players’ efforts and by the spirit.”

A first clean sheet for La Roja – the stats

  • China have progressed from the group stage in all seven of their Women’s World Cup appearances.
  • This is just the second draw at the 2019 World Cup after 26 matches.
  • Spain kept their first ever clean sheet at a Women’s World Cup.
  • China had one shot in the whole game – the joint-fewest of any side so far in France.
  • China only had seven touches in the opposition penalty area, compared to 36 for Spain.

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