Japan through to last 16 at Women’s WCup
Defending champion Japan became the first team to confirm its place in the last 16 after a 2-1 victory over Cameroon while the other Group C game saw Switzerland rout Ecuador 10-1.
Sweden held the United States to a scoreless draw at the Women’s World Cup on Friday, providing a good result for the Swedes and their coach Pia Sundhage, who used to be in charge of the American team.
The United States was a point clear atop Group D, ahead of Australia which beat Nigeria 2-0.
The Americans were chasing a win which would have assured a place in the knockout stages but could not break down the welldrilled Swedes.
The U.S came close to scoring when veteran striker Abby Wambach headed on goal in the 72nd minute but the bouncing shot was tipped over the crossbar by Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
Sweden came closer yet in the 77th when only some desperate defending by Meghan Klingenberg prevented the European team going ahead. Klingenberg, a diminutive defender positioned on the line for the Swedish corner, leaped to get her head on a goal-bound shot by Sweden’s Caroline Seger, deflecting it onto the bar and away to safety.
Goal-line technology confirmed the ball never crossed the line.
The United States needs only a draw from its final group game against Nigeria to be sure of progressing, while the Swedes will need to beat Australia if they are to make it to the last 16.
Japan scored two early goals and held on for a 2-1 win against Cameroon.
Aya Sameshima scored in the 6th minute and Yuika Sugasawa added a header off a cross by Aya Miyama in the 17th.
Cameroon pulled a goal back in the 90th minute after a strong run and shot by Ajara Nchout and almost snatched a draw in stoppage time but Gaelle Enganamouit’s shot missed just to the left.
Australia put itself in a strong position to progress after beating Nigeria 2-0 thanks to two goals by Kyah Simon.
Simon beat Nigeria goalkeeper Precious Dede on a feed from Lisa De Vanna to put the Matildas up 1-0 in the 29th minute. She then found herself unguarded in the front of the goal to put away Samantha Kerr’s arcing cross in the 68th minute.
Late in the match, Kerr was elbowed in the jaw in an off-the-ball incident which was not seen by the referee. Australia coach Alen Stajcic said the 21-year-old striker would require X-rays to determine if her jaw was broken.
Barring an upset defeat for the United States in the last round of group games, Australia will need only a draw against Sweden to reach the next stage. Nigeria must beat the Americans by at least two goals if they are to go through.
Switzerland handed another heavy defeat to Ecuador, beating the overwhelmed South Americans 10-1, with Fabienne Humm and Ramona Bachmann both scoring second-half hat tricks.
Humm’s three goals came within 6 minutes early in the second half, the first on a powerful strike from outside the penalty area in the 47th minute to put Switzerland up 3-0. Bachmann capped her scoring binge in the 81st minute for Switzerland’s 10th goal.
Eseosa Aigbogun and Martina Moser added goals for Switzerland.
Angie Ponce, who was responsible for two own goals, also scored one at the right end with a 64th minute penalty to record Ecuador’s first World Cup goal.
Ecuador lost its opening match 6-0, and this was the second game of the tournament to record a double-figure score as the tournament experiences growing pains from expanding to 24 teams.
Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl #1 saves the header from United States’ Alex Morgan #13 as Sweden’s Amanda Ilestedt #14 defends during second-half FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday, June 12.