FIFA Women's World Cup: Stalemate sends Spain and China into last 16

Spain and China played out a goalless draw that saw both of them earn a spot in the last-16 of the FIFA Women's World Cup.

With a stalemate enough to secure their places in the last 16, Spain and China eschewed risk and combined for few chances in a largely lacklustre encounter.   -  AP Photo

China and Spain advanced to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup knockout rounds after settling for a goalless draw in Le Havre on Monday.

With a stalemate enough to secure their places in the last 16, the two sides eschewed risk and combined for few chances in a largely lacklustre encounter.

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Spain appeared likeliest to turn a wealth of possession into a winner but will be satisfied with a point that sews up second spot behind Germany in Group B and make it first appearance in the knockout stage of the World Cup.

China, meanwhile, has done enough to earn one of four third-placed qualifying berths, a narrow win over South Africa in Paris last week proving crucial.

Spain carved out the best chance of a subdued opening 30 minutes when Lucia Garcia went within a whisker of turning in Mariona Caldentey's ball across the face of goal. Peng Shimeng was almost caught out on that occasion, but the China goalkeeper made amends with a sharp low save from Jennifer Hermoso's downward header before the break.

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The pitch eventually opened up for Nahikari Garcia seven minutes after the interval, only for the forward to slot her shot wide of the far post. Peng then needed to be at full stretch to turn away a Patri Guijarro attempt as Spain continued to probe for the breakthrough.

The Steel Roses' impressive shot-stopper made two more smart stops in the latter stages of the match, first from Guijarro and then Hermoso, to make certain of a crucial clean sheet.

Jorge Vilda, however, will remain the more confident of the two coaches of making an impression on the remainder of the tournament, his team now unbeaten in five of its past six matches. Spain will have a daunting task ahead as it could be pitted against defending champion USA in the next round.