Group E: NETHERLANDS 2-1 CANADA
The Netherlands qualified for the knockout stages as Group E winners, becoming only the second team to score against Canada this year.
After a bright first half, Anouk Dekker glanced in Sherida Spitse’s driven free kick from the left to put Leeuwinnen in front on 55 minutes.
Christine Sinclair equalised for the Canucks arriving at the far post to smash in Ashley Lawrence’s cross, scoring her 182nd international and equalling Marta’s achievement of scoring in five World Cups.
Dutch Head Coach Sarina Wiegman has made tactical switches throughout the competition to positively affect results and this match was no different. Substitute Lineth Beerensteyn started and finished the move that gave the Netherland’s victory, getting on the end of Desiree van Lunteren’s fizzing cross to set the Oranje on course for a round of sixteen tie with Group D runners-up Japan.
Canada will need to dust themselves down to face Sweden in Paris next Monday.
Group E: CAMEROON 2-1 NEW ZEALAND
Ajara Nchout put Cameroon through with the very last kick of the match against the Football Ferns. Having gone ahead in the 57th minute through Nchout’s smart turn and finish, the Indomitable Lionesses were pegged back with ten minutes to go when Aurelle Awona sliced into her own net under no pressure. The Vålerenga forward would have the last say, though; with just seconds remaining she turned Ria Percival twice in the box before beating Erin Nayler to her left.
This defeat caps a disappointing competition for New Zealand who just haven’t been able to put any consistent threat into their attacking play across all three matches.
Cameroon’s qualification pushed Argentina out of contention and left Nigeria watching anxiously for Chile’s result, with the South Americans needing a three-goal swing.
Group F: SWEDEN 0-2 USA
The United States qualified for the knockout phase as group F winners beating Sweden by two goals to nil in the Stade Océane. Goals at the beginning of each half gave the Scandinavians too much to do, even though they were able to create a few defensive problems for Jill Ellis’s side.
This was billed as the match where we would all find out where the USA really were in terms of their status as world ranked number one. Within three minutes of the match kicking off they were already a goal to the good. Megan Rapinoe’s corner from the left caused chaos at the front post and the ball found its way through to Lindsey Horan who stabbed home from a yard out.
Sweden offered more attacking threat than either of America’s previous opponents, but both Sofia Jakobsson and Kosovare Asllani fired their efforts straight at Alyssa Naeher.
The tournament favourites doubled their lead on 50 minutes. Rapinoe crossed and the Swedish defence only half cleared to Tobin Heath on the right-hand side of the penalty area. She dropped her shoulder and unleashed a fierce drive – from what seemed an impossible angle – that took a nick off Jonna Andersson’s boot and evaded Lindahl. A VAR check determined that Carli Lloyd was in an offside position when the first ball came in, but the referee controversially decided that the striker was not active and let the goal stand.
Having gone two goals down, Peter Gerhardsson’s side had their best spell of the match. Stina Blackstenius headed over Jakobsson’s cross and then drew a smart save out of Naeher at her near post.
But the Americans dug in and regained control, opting for game management over more goals. Kristen Press and Mallory Pugh livened up the US attack, but the only chance of note fell to Lloyd in stoppage time who was denied by Lindahl.
The USA travel to Reims to play Spain in the round of 16. Sweden face Canada in Paris.
Group F: THAILAND 0-2 CHILE
Chile gave it their best shot but couldn’t quite get the requisite number of goals to eke ahead of Nigeria for the final knockout berth. In fact, they came within millimetres of achieving their dream but Francisca Lara’s penalty kick at 2-0 crashed off the crossbar.
A scrappy first half was punctuated with La Roja Femenina hitting the woodwork twice in the space of a few seconds. Lara’s effort cannoned off the upright, foreshadowing later events, and then in the ensuing scramble Thai defender Natthakarn Chinwong managed to deflect another attempt on to the goal frame.
Thailand struggled to make good chances but had a spell just before half time where they could and perhaps should have got on the scoreboard. Silawan Intamee beat her defender on the edge of the box and fired wide. Then goalkeeper Christiane Endler had to be at her best to tip over from Kanjana Sung-Ngoen.
The second period was all Chile. They took the lead on 47 minutes when Daniela Zamora worked an opening down the right and cut back to Yanara Aedo on the edge of the box. Aedo’s effort hit the post but keeper Waraporn Boonsing was blindsided and the ball rebounded off her and in.
Pressing forward relentlessly, the South Americans got their second 10 minutes from time when Yessenia López crossed from deep and María José Urrutia rose to flick her header past the keeper.
The late drama continued. Chile worked another opening for Urrutia in the six-yard box. She lobbed the keeper but Chinwong cleared off the line.
VAR then checked for a foul on the Chilean forward and, sure enough, Boonsing had clattered her after the ball had gone. Lara struck her penalty well but too high and her teammates couldn’t convert from the rebound. Any hopes she might get a retake were dashed when VAR revealed that Boonsong had managed to keep one foot on the goal line, sealing Chile’s fate.