South Africa 0 China 1: Li winner sends France and Germany through

Li Ying scored as China secured a 1-0 victory over South Africa that meant hosts France and Germany qualified for the last 16.

China secured a 1-0 win over South Africa in Paris that ensured Group B leaders Germany and hosts France became the first teams to qualify for the last 16 of the Women's World Cup.

Li Ying stretched to reach Zhang Rui's cross to poke home five minutes before the break and that proved to be the only goal of the game as China got their campaign up and running at the Parc des Princes.

Both nations had lost their opening fixtures and World Cup debutants South Africa remain without a point as China, runners-up in 1999, bounced back from their opening defeat to Germany.

The result meant Germany, who are the reigning Olympic champions, are now assured of a top-two finish in Group B and a place in the knockout phase, while Group A leaders France are also through as they will secure one of the best third-placed spots even if they lose their last match.

In a first half of few opportunities, Li was rewarded for gambling to reach Zhang's cross from the right, with goalkeeper Kaylin Swart caught out as the ball came off Li's knee and went into the net.

China nearly had a second two minutes later when Wang Shanshan's powerful header from a corner hit the crossbar and landed with only a small portion of the ball not over the line.

South Africa failed to conjure up an equaliser in the second period and it was China who pressed for a second late on, with Han Peng's header pushed out by Swart, who then made an even better one-handed stop in the last minute to deny substitute Yang Li.

The result moved China onto three points, level with second-placed Spain, who they face in Le Havre in the final group game on Monday.

South Africa, beaten 3-1 by Spain in their first match, meet Germany in Montpellier.

 

Key Opta facts

- China are unbeaten at the Women's World Cup when they’ve opened the scoring, winning 15 of the 16 games that they've netted first in (D1).
- China's Wang Shuang created five chances for her team-mates in this game; the most by a Chinese player in a Women's World Cup game across the last two tournaments.
- There were just four shots on target in this game (one for South Africa and three for China) - only one game has had fewer in the 2019 Women's World Cup so far (three between Argentina and Japan).