First-half goals lead Germany over China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 10, 2018
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Zhi Jie (R) of China vies with Sophia Kleinherne of Germany during a Group D match at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018 in Saint-Malo, France on Aug. 9, 2018. Germany won 2-0. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)

China PR's chances of reaching the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup quarter-finals suffered a blow, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Germany on Thursday.

The result means China must defeat Nigeria in their final Group C match on Monday to advance beyond the group stage for the first time since 2006, after two first-half goals all but sealed Germany's place in the Knockout Stage.

With three points under their belt from their opening 2-1 win over Haiti, Peter Bonde's side started confidently, regularly stretching the German defence in the opening quarter of an hour. 

But while their attractive build-up play created a number of openings, China PR's struggle to find a killer pass meant they had little to show for it, and Germany survived the period without their goal coming under any direct threat.

Somewhat against the run of play, the three-time champions then took a 31st minute lead thanks to an excellent goal from Giulia Gwinn, who punished some sloppy passing in the Chinese midfield to thump the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.

The Germans assumed total control nine minutes later, when Laura Freigang ghosted in behind China PR's advancing defensive line to expertly direct a long cross beyond Xu Huan and into the back of the net. 

Facing a two-goal deficit, China PR made a positive start to the second half, with substitute Wang Yanwen having a shot on target before Xie Qiwen's rasping 57th minute effort went just shy of creeping in at Vanessa Fishcer's near post.

The sense of Chinese momentum grew further when defensive lynchpin Wang Linlin ventured forward to go close with a long-range effort shortly thereafter, but despite their best efforts, their reward never materialised. 

It was Germany who finished the match the stronger side, and the one most likely to add to the scoring, with only Xu preventing substitute Klara Buehl from adding extra gloss to the scoreline in the dying stages.

With six points from two matches Maren Meinert's side now look certain to continue their record of having never failed to reach the Knockout Stage, while Nigeria's 1-0 win over Haiti means only a win will do against the Africans if China PR are to reach to last eight.

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