China could be on course for at least a third place finish in Group B of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 after they recorded a 1-0 victory over South Africa in a poor game at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
England or Scotland could face one of the two sides in the last-16 should they win Group D but they should not fear either with both teams playing some disappointing football at the home of Paris Saint-Germain.
The first half was very low on quality with a number of errors being made by both sides. China looked the most likely to break the deadlock but they were guilty of some woeful finishing.
Liu Shanshan put in a cross for Li Ying who failed to direct her effort on target while Gu Yasha fired a shot wide despite shaking off two South African defenders.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 40th minute when Zhang Rui played a wonderful cross into the box and Li was able to guide the ball into the back of the net. China were almost two goals up virtually immediately after that strike but Wang Shanshan’s header struck the bar and the full ball was deemed to have not bounced fully over the line.
The second half started very similar to the first with very little quality being shown by either side. If anything, South Africa looked the more lively and both Memello Makhabane and Kholosa Biyana registered unsuccessful attempts on goal.
Wang Shanshan curled a rare effort wide for China before South African keeper Kaylin Swart made two great saves late on to deny both Han Peng and Yang Li from increasing their side’s advantage at the death.
China will now face Spain for the right to finish second while South Africa’s brave fight looks to be all but over with Germany up next.