Italy 2-0 China: Giacinti, Galli on target to seal quarterfinal berth

A combative China side failed to cope with Italy's pacy attack as Milena Bertolini's charges won 2-0 in Montpellier.

Italy bounced back from defeat against Brazil with an impressive performance and a 2-0 win over China to secure its place in the last-eight of the Women's World Cup.

Valentina Giacinti scored her fifth goal in eight appearances to put Milena Bertolini's side on course for victory after 15 minutes and the game was put beyond the reach of a nervy China team when Aurora Galli scored from 20 yards in the second half.

Italy is ranked as an outside chance to win the competition but the speed with which it attacked against China and the outstanding performance of Giacinti sent a message to the tournament favourites.

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Next up for Italy will be Netherlands or Japan in the quarterfinal on Saturday, while China heads home from the competition having scored just once and claimed a solitary win from its four matches in France.

Giacinti had the ball in the net after nine minutes only to be denied by an offside flag, but the AC Milan forward's tireless early endeavour paid off when Elisa Bartoli's shot rebounded back to her for a low, left-footed finish into the net from 12 yards.

Laura Giuliani leapt acrobatically to turn Wang Yan's dipping shot over the crossbar before Giacinti exposed China's defensive frailties yet again but fired wide in a one-on-one with Peng Shimeng, who then made a superb diving save to deny Valentina Bergamaschi at close range.

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Li Ying and Wang Shanshan combined hit the post shortly before half-time as Jia Xiuquan's side enjoyed a spell of pressure leading up to the interval.

Italy substitute Galli took the wind out of China's sails five minutes into the second half when she sent a skidding drive beyond Peng's outstretched hand to double her side's advantage.

China piled forward to try to salvage its tournament in the last 20 minutes but wasteful finishing from Wang and Li, both of whom had chances inside the Italy penalty area, ensured there was no late twist in the tale at Stade de la Mosson.

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