The World Cup group stage came to a close following another action packed day in France. The Netherlands and the United States won their groups, Canada and Sweden settled for second place, while Cameroon qualified for the Round of 16 in the most dramatic way possible.
CAMEROON v NEW ZEALAND
Cameroon left it very late in Montpellier to defeat New Zealand 2-1 and progress to the next stage of the tournament.
The African side began brightly and were the better side in the first half, Gabrielle Onguéné looking lively in attack.
The game’s tempo increased in the second half, and 12 minutes after the restart Cameroon opened the scoring. Ajara Nchout controlled a cross well, turned past a defender and sent the ball into the bottom corner.
Cameroon could have made it 2-0 seven minutes later, but New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler made an astonishing triple save, denying Onguéné twice and then saving a follow-up shot. Good goalkeeping was also on display at the other end, Cameroon’s Annette Ngo Ndom flying to her right to tip a Betsy Hassett header wide in the 74th minute.
In the 80th minute, it looked like disaster had struck for Cameroon, as Aurelle Awona scored an own goal while attempting to defend Katie Bowen’s free kick.
A 1-1 draw was not enough for either team to advance, so both sides were fully committed to attack. Kiwi midfielder Olivia Chance nearly found the net off a cross from Sarah Gregorius, however it would be Cameroon who grabbed the winner, with literally the last kick of the game.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Nchout led a counter attack, weaving her way past an opponent before coolly slotting the ball past Nayler. Her double ensures that Cameroon will play England in the second round.
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 20, 2019
Cameroon 2 (Nchout 57’ 90+5’)
New Zealand 1 (Awona og 80’)
NETHERLANDS v CANADA
In the other Group E fixture, the Netherlands won 2-1 against Canada in Reims to finish top of Group E.
This game got off to a frantic start, as Canada were awarded a penalty in the first minute for a foul on Janine Beckie. Following a VAR review, the decision was changed to a free kick just outside the area, and Christine Sinclair blasted the set piece into the wall.
The Dutch then began to dominate possession, going the closest to scoring in the first half after Vivianne Miedema struck the post.
In the 54th minute, the Netherlands took the lead when Anouk Dekker beat the defence to Sherida Spitse’s free kick. Their lead didn’t last long though as Christine Sinclair levelled the scores six minutes later, getting on the end of Ashley Lawrence’s cross and finishing from a narrow angle.
With 15 minutes remaining, the Dutch went 2-1 up, Jill Roord setting up substitute Lineth Beerensteyn for an easy finish.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 20, 2019
That was the end of the scoring, and the Netherlands will face Japan in the Round of 16, while Canada meet Sweden.
Netherlands 2 (Dekker 54’, Beerensteyn 75’)
Canada 1 (Sinclair 60’)
SWEDEN v UNITED STATES
Goals in each half took the United States to a 2-0 victory over Sweden and to the top of Group F.
The Americans had the perfect start, Lindsey Horan netting from close range when Megan Rapinoe’s corner flew through a crowd of players.
Despite a few chances for Sweden, the USA were the better side in the opening stanza, but they were unable to extend their lead before the break.
It was a different story after play restarted, and in the 50th minute the United States doubled their lead, Jonna Andersson deflecting Tobin Heath’s into the net.
There would be no more goals, although in the dying minutes Hedvig Lindahl made a great save from Carli Lloyd.
FT: Sweden 0-2 USA
Goals from Lindsay Horan and Tobin Heath mean #FIFAWWC holders USA win Group F. It's nine wins in nine for the USA.
Sweden finish in second spot and will also head to the knock-out stages.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 20, 2019
USA’s victory sets up a game with Spain in the second round.
United States 2 (Horan 3, Andersson og 50’)
THAILAND v CHILE
Chile recorded their first ever World Cup win in Rennes, defeating Thailand 2-0. However, there was heartbreak for the South Americans as they failed to qualify for the Round of 16 on goal difference.
The Chileans were the better side throughout the contest, and struck the woodwork through María Urrutia and Rosario Balmaceda in the first half. They didn’t have it all their own way though, as Silawan Intamee’s effort took a deflection and sailed inches wide, while Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler tipped Kanjana Sung-ngoen’s 35 yard lob over the crossbar.
La Roja opened the scoring early in the second half after Yanara Aedo’s shot hit the post, deflected off Thai goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing and crossed the line.
Chilean pressure yielded another reward in the 80th minute when they doubled their lead, Urrutia netting from Paloma López’s pass.
This meant the South Americans needed one more goal to qualify for the second round, and they nearly found it a couple of minutes later. Urrutia nicked the ball past the keeper, only to be denied by Pitsamai Sornsai’s goal line clearance.
Chile were then awarded a penalty in the 85th minute following Boonsing’s foul on Urrutia. However, Francisca Lara hit the crossbar from the spot, and seven minutes of time-added-on weren’t enough for La Roja to score a crucial third goal.
5 – Francisca Lara’s spot kick for Chile was the fifth penalty miss of the 2019 Women’s World Cup (13/18 scored), one more than there were in the whole of the previous tournament in 2015 (18/22 scored). Agony. #FIFAWWC #THACHI pic.twitter.com/VplXO8nYq2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2019
The result means Nigeria proceed to the second round as one of the four best third placed sides, and they will face Germany in Grenoble on Saturday (local time).
Chile 2 (Boonsing og 48’, Urrutia 80’)