England, China claim tough wins at Women’s WC

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China survived a first-half red card to overcome debutants Haiti 1-0 on Friday, while European champions England closed in on the FIFA Women's World Cup knockout stages after beating Denmark 1-0, reported Xinhua.

In the day's first game, Argentina produced a rousing comeback to draw 2-2 with South Africa in Group G at Dunedin Stadium.

Needing to avoid defeat in Adelaide to stay alive, China were reduced to 10 players when Zhang Rui was sent off in the 29th minute for a rough tackle on Sherly Jeudy.

But they survived sustained pressure from Haiti and against the run of play in the second-half Zhang Linyan was brought down in the box by Ruthny Mathurin.

After a long VAR review, substitute Wang Shuang scored with her penalty kick in the 74th minute and China held on as Haiti furiously attacked in a stoppage-time lasting 13 minutes.

"We never gave up and we were confident in our game plan (with 10 players)," said Wang.

The result means China are level with Denmark on three points, while Group D leaders England have six points but haven't yet secured a spot into the round of 16.

England's win in Sydney might have come at a major cost for the Lionesses, deemed a title favorite, with star Keira Walsh appearing to suffer a serious knee injury just before halftime.

A spectacular goal outside the box from Lauren James in the sixth minute proved the difference in a vital victory for an injury-hit England.

"We don't know yet, so we can't make any assumptions. Let's just really wait until we have a diagnosis," England coach Sarina Wiegman said about Walsh, who plays for Barcelona.

"Of course it's not nice when a player goes off the pitch that way, but these things happen in football and you just have to move on."

Denmark had late chances to equalize with their best being from Amalie Vangsgaard — who had the later winner against China in Perth — but her header smashed into the post.

"That (Walsh's injury) could also be one reason we came back into the game," Denmark coach Lars Sondergaard said.

"If we had been good enough, precise enough, we could have punished them before halftime on the counter."

Earlier, Argentina had struggled to create any clear opportunities and were in a major hole when South Africa scored through Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana either side of halftime.

But South Africa were denied a first World Cup victory from five attempts after Argentina stormed back into the contest.

Sophia Braun pegged one back with a spectacular strike in the 74th minute and then Romina Nunez equalized with a header five minutes later.

"I am really proud of how we came back, we never gave up. We showed a lot of heart," Braun said.

Even though they received their first ever World Cup point, it was more heartbreak for South Africa who also were overrun by Sweden to lose 2-1 in their opening match.

"It is about taking our chances, making better decisions in the final third. If we take our chances we have a different conversation," South Africa coach Desiree Ellis said.

"Today was a great opportunity to put ourselves a step ahead, but it is not all lost."

The draw leaves both sides with a single point and on the brink of elimination in a group headlined by European powers Sweden and Italy, who play each other on Saturday.

In other games, France meet Brazil in a blockbuster while Panama face Jamaica in group F action.

  •  Women’s WC

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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