Group B came to an end this evening as three of the four teams within it sealed their progression to the knockout stages. Germany beat South Africa to win the group and a goalless draw between China and Spain was enough for both of those two sides to go through as well.
Germany ran out comprehensive winners over South Africa in Montpellier as Melanie Leupolz, Sara Daebritz, Alexandra Popp and Lina Magull all scored to secure a 4-0 win. The result means that Marina Voss-Tecklenburg and her team not only progress, but win the group with nine points from a possible nine.
On the flip side of things, South Africa finish rock bottom of the group after having lost all three of their group matches. The highlight of the tournament for Banyana Banyana will be their one and only goal of the tournament – Thembi Kgatlana’s screamer in their opening game against Italy.
The other game in the group today saw China take on Spain in Le Havre. The match was a pretty drab goalless draw, only the second one of those in the whole tournament thus far. That result means that both sides finish the group stage on one win, one loss and one draw. Spain go through in second place thanks to their superior goal difference.
China can celebrate as well as their four points means they are guaranteed progression as one of the four best third placed teams. This comes due to the fact that both group E and group F both have two teams with zero points to their name. As a result, a point was all China and Spain ever needed to secure their progression this evening. Having done so, both sides will be very pleased.
Germany will come against the third placed team from one of groups A, C or D. That means they could face Nigeria, Norway, Brazil, Australia, Scotland or Argentina – a fair few possibilities.
Spain will play the team that tops group F – that means they will have a very close eye on the game between USA and Sweden on Thursday evening. The winner of that one will have the honour of facing off against Espana in the round of 16.
As one of the four best third placed teams, China will play against the group winners of either group D or C. It’s looking likely that will be one of either Italy or England.