Germany is playing like a title contender at the right time.
Germany played to its status as the world’s second-ranked side and one of the top challengers hoping to dethrone the United States, routing South Africa 4-0 on Monday in Montpellier, France, to top Group B with a 3-0 record.
After Germany pulled out 1-0 wins over China and Spain, its offense broke out with three goals in the first half at Montpellier’s Stade de la Mosson, matching its total in its previous five World Cup games combined.
“I told my players that we should keep it simple,” coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said. “The players performed very well. They showed that football can really be very simple sometimes. … There were moments within the match when we tried to go for the more difficult solution. That’s something we can work on.”
France 1, Nigeria 0: France completed group play with a 3-0 record for the first time, beating Nigeria at Rennes when Wendie Renard converted a penalty kick in the 79th minute after missing her first attempt but getting a second chance.
Referee Melissa Borjas of Honduras awarded the penalty kick when Viviane Asseyi was knocked over by Ngozi Ebere, a call upheld in a video review and one that drew vehement protests from the Super Falcons. Eberle was given her second yellow card of the match for the foul, causing Nigeria to finish a player short.
Renard’s initial attempt was wide to the right of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, but Borjas ordered the kick retaken because Nnadozie came off the line before the ball was kicked. Renard’s second try went in to Nnadozie’s right.
Spain 0, China 0: Spain and China played to a draw in Le Havre that advanced both squads to the round of 16.
Spain finished second in Group B behind Germany. La Roja advanced to the knockout stage for the first time and will face the winner of Group F — likely the United States — on Monday at Reims.
Norway 2, S. Korea 1: Norway knocked South Korea out of the World Cup by scoring on two penalties in Reims. Caroline Graham Hansen scored after five minutes and Isabell Herlovsen beat goalkeeper Kim Min-jung from the spot six minutes into the second half.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Germany-plays-like-a-contender-in-Women-s-World-14009804.php.