South Africa 0 China 1: Li winner sends France and Germany through

Li Ying scored as China secured a 1-0 victory over South Africa that meant host France and Germany qualifies for the last 16.

China's Li Yang

Li Yang helped China beat South Africa 1 - 0 in a group B match in the FIFA Women's World Cup.   -  Getty Images

China secured a 1-0 win over South Africa in Paris that ensured Group B leaders Germany and hosts France became the first teams to qualify for the last 16 of the Women's World Cup.

Li Ying stretched to reach Zhang Rui's cross to poke home five minutes before the break and that proved to be the only goal of the game as China got its campaign up and running at the Parc des Princes.

Both nations had lost their opening fixtures and World Cup debutant South Africa remains without a point as China, runners-up in 1999, bounced back from its opening defeat to Germany.

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The result meant Germany, who is the reigning Olympic champion, is now assured of a top-two finish in Group B and a place in the knockout phase, while Group A leader France is also through as it will secure one of the best third-placed spots even if it loses its last match.


In a first half of few opportunities, Li was rewarded for gambling to reach Zhang's cross from the right, with goalkeeper Kaylin Swart caught out as the ball came off Li's knee and went into the net.

China nearly had a second two minutes later when Wang Shanshan's powerful header from a corner hit the crossbar and landed with only a small portion of the ball not over the line.

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South Africa failed to conjure up an equaliser in the second period and it was China who pressed for a second late on, with Han Peng's header pushed out by Swart, who then made an even better one-handed stop in the last minute to deny substitute Yang Li.

The result moved China onto three points, level with second-placed Spain, who it faces in Le Havre in the final group game on Monday.

South Africa, beaten 3-1 by Spain in its first match, meets Germany in Montpellier.

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