Women's World Cup, as it happened: Italy cruises to quarters with win over China

Italy rides on strikes from Galli and Giacinti to seal a last-eight berth. Here's how La Azzure won the Chinese challenge.

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.

This is Manasi Pathak and I will be taking you through our live coverage.

The action kicks off today at Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier, where Italy takes on China in the round of 16.

Italy qualified as the table topper of Group C, having pocketed six points from a possible nine. China, on the other hand, progressed as one of the four best third-place finishers, collecting four points.

This will be the first-ever World Cup meeting between Italy and China - Italy's only previous such meeting with an Asian opponent tracks back to 1991 - beating Chinese Taipei 5-0, in what was Le Azzure's first-ever World Cup game.

The winner of this match will face Netherlands vs Japan in the quarterfinal, on 29 June in Valenciennes.

So let's get going!

 

 

 

Follow the action live:

- That's all from my side. This is Manasi Pathak signing off, thanks for tuning in and do come around in an hour to follow the final round of 16 match between Netherlands and Japan. Ciao!

 

FULL TIME: ITALY 2-0 CHINA - Goals from Galli and Giacinti ensure Italy gets the better of China in the last-16, and progresses to the quarters where it will face the winner of Netherlands vs Japan.

90+3'  GOOD SAVE BY PENG! Giacinti once again gets the chance to run at Lin and she gets past the defender. She cuts back inside before hitting her strike towards the near post but the keeper gets across well to palm it away.

89' Giacinti, who has been rather quiet in the second half, gets the ball. She makes her way from the left wing towards the edge of the box, she takes a shot but it is pretty wide. No brace for her (yet)!

84' Wang Shuang decides to have another go from long range and she tries to curl her effort into the top corner. Her shot is overhit though and it sails over the crossbar without troubling Giuliani.

82' CHANCE WASTED! Song plays a lobbed ball for her three targets in the box, however only Zhang gets her head to it and sees the ball go out of play. Chance wasted for China.

79' Li Ying gets in action yet again as she runs through the middle, aiming to reach the box. However, Linari marks her well and blocks her at the edge of the box.

75' Song makes her way inwards towards the centre as she comes in from the right side. She makes space for herself before unleashing a left-footed shot, which is awfully wide of the goal.

 

69' Wang Shuang has to stretch to get on the end of Yang's pass to her but she manages to square it towards Li Ying. It's just ahead of the forward, but she would've been in on goal if she had got on the end of it.

65'  CHANCE FOR WANG SHUANG! She was surrounded by three Italian defenders but she does really well to get a shot away as she slips before she makes contact with the ball. There's not a lot of pace on the shot though and it's a comfortable save for Giuliani.

61' GOOD CHANCE FOR CHINA! Italy gives the ball away to Wang Shuang and she decides to have a go from long-range. Her effort is curling towards the top corner, but it sails just over the crossbar.

56' Substitute Yang Li tries to get things going in the middle for China after the two-goal deficit as she finds Li Ying in the center. Li Ying tries to go forward with the build-up but can't get past Linari.

 

49' GOAL! ITALY 2-0 CHINA. Aurora Galli makes it two! Galli was given a lot of room just outside the box when she received the ball and she hit her shot low and hard towards the goal. It went through a lot of players and beat Peng to nestle in the bottom corner.

46' Second half resumes.

 

HALF TIME: ITALY 1-0 CHINA - Valentina Giacinti's 15th minute goal separates the two sides at the break. Italy has looked stronger going forward but since conceding the goal, China has been hungry for the equaliser and even troubled the La Azzure minutes before the half-time whistle.

45+2' Shuang's weighted pass is very played through the gap and it finds Li Ying on the right. The Chinese attackers tries to invade into the box from the right-side but Bartoli blocks it. That's all from this half.

44' Some quick movement from Wang Shuang opens her body up and allows her to touch the ball into Gu's path as she runs to the far post. She sticks her leg out to reach it, but Guagni makes an important block to put it behind.

42' WOODWORK! China gets a free-kick and Li Ying is in the limelight again- she connects with the cross sent into the box by Yang, and heads it towards the goal. However it deflects off her teammate Shanshan and hits the post!

39' Li Ying attacks from the right and tries to make her way inwards, she whips in a cross for her teammate outside the box but Guagni gets to it first.

33' SAVE! A well-timed run from Bergamaschi sees her connect with the long ball played for her from deep midfield. She makes her way towards the goal and shoots from the edge of the box but China's Peng does well to block the effort.

31' Giacinti is left one-on-one with the goalkeeper once again, and just like before she keeps her cool and tries to slot her effort into the bottom corner of the net. This time, she can't get her angles right and sends it just wide of the post, but she had drifted offside once again so it wouldn't have counted anyway.

28' CLOSE! Gu Yasha keeps the ball down for Wang Yan who shoots a long-range strike, which is just kept out by the finger tips of Giuliani!

26' Gama's high-boot clearance off Wang is undergoing a VAR check after she ended up hitting the Chinese attacker's head. However, VAR clears it and play continues.

19' China puts together some really good build-up play to get the ball to Li Ying on the edge of the box. She is however being tightly marked by Guagni and can only hit her cross against the defender to win a corner.

 

15' GOAL! ITALY 1-0 CHINA. Valentina Giacinti puts Italy up! China captain fails to clear the ball and Giacinti sprints on the right flank. She finds Bonansea with a squared pass at the edge of the box; Bonansea sends it to Bartoli who tries to take a shot. However, the goalkeeper comes off her line and collides with Bartoli- this spills the ball inside the box and an alert Giacinti slots it home!

12' WIDE! The Chinese backline fails to clear the ball and Giacinti makes the most of it. Getting possession of the ball, she takes a turn and unleashes a right-footed shot, which goes just wide of the goal.

10' GOAL DISALLOWED! Yet again Giacinti connects with the ball, as she is picked out by Girelli. Giacinti makes a run towards the box, but Chinese players raise their hands up indicating a possible offside as Giacinti finds the net. China is right - Giacinti was offside while the ball was played for her, and the flag goes up for offside.

9' A diagonal ball is played by Guagni for Giacinti, who is inside the box. She tries to head it in the path of Bonansea but fails to do so.

5' Shanshan pulls away from her defender on the edge of the box and whips a good cross towards the near post. Li Ying is the closest to it but doesn't get to the ball before it goes out of play.

1' KICKOFF! The action begins in Montpellier.

- The players are out on the field. The national anthem of Italy will be followed by China's. Kick-off soon.

Xiuquan Jia, on the other hand, names an unchanged team to the one that drew with Spain in its final group game as he was clearly impressed with his side's performance that day.

- Milena Bertolini makes just one change to the side that lost to Brazil last time out. Bergamaschi is the player that comes into the starting line-up and she replaces Galli, who drops down to the bench.

 

- The line-ups are out. Italy has gone for a 4-3-3 formation, whereas China will go ahead with a 4-4-2 shape.