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Women's Football News
China 2 (Lisi Wang pen 41, Shanshan Wang 60) New Zealand 2 (Stott 28, Wilkinson 64)
On a nervy night in Winnipeg, China edged into the knockout phase as Group A runners-up whilst New Zealand have gone out of the World Cup.
However, the Football Ferns can point to a controversial penalty award against them after they had looked to take a precious lead into the half time break.
The early stages of the game were evenly matched with the best opportunity falling the way of China, a header by Shanshan Wang bringing out a good save from Erin Nayler.
Just before the half hour mark, New Zealand got the goal they wanted to pep up their qualification hopes. Ria Percival's corner from the left was not dealt with by the Chinese defence and Rebekah Stott was on hand just beyond the far post to smash the ball into the roof of the net on the half volley. The strike meant that all competing teams in the competition had now scored a goal.
New Zealand joy turned to anger shortly before the interval though as a dreadful penalty decision brought China back into the game. Although Lisa Wang's cross into the area clearly hit Betsy Hassett in the stomach, this was somehow deemed to be handball and from the resulting spot kick, Lisi Wang coolly found the corner of the net, beating the dive of Nayler.
China put themselves into a strong position on the hour mark as they took the lead for the first time. Haiyan Wu clipped a neat cross into the area for Shanshan Wang to steal in between defender and goalkeeper to beat Nayler with a brave header.
Once again the game was to swing though and New Zealand needed just four minutes to get back on level terms. Ali Riley broke down the left and sent in a deep cross which was headed back across goal by Amber Hearn and Hannah Wilkinson was on hand to turn the ball home from six yards.
The game flowed from end to end with New Zealand committed to attack and China looking dangerous on the break. The Chinese were next to go close with Lisi Wang making a good run down the right and crossing but, at full stretch, Shanshan Wang was unable to control her volley and could only direct it wide. Back came the Football Ferns and another corner almost led to them equalising but Abby Erceg's firm header was diverted wide by Shanshan Liu.
Shanshan Wang almost grabbed a decisive third when getting on the end of a free kick from deep by Dongna Li, the striker looping the ball goalwards via her thigh but Nayler managed to claw the ball away.
New Zealand tried to salvage the goal that would keep their World Cup campaign alive during injury time but to no avail whilst China could celebrate the news that they are definitely through to the last sixteen, by virtue of having scored more goals than Holland.
China: Fei Wang, Shanshan Liu, Rong Zhao, Ruyin Tan, Haiyan Wu, Dongna Li, Jilai Tang (sub Shuang Wang 72mins), Peng Han (sub Jiahui Lou 84mins), Shanshan Wang, Guixin Ren, Lisi Wang (sub Ying Li 90mins).
New Zealand: Erin Nayler, Ria Percival, Ali Riley, Katie Duncan, Abby Erceg, Rebekah Stott, Annalie Longo, Betsy Hassett (sub Katie Bowen 45mins), Amber Hearn, Sarah Gregorius (sub Rosie White 45mins (sub Kirsty Yallop 89mins)), Hannah Wilkinson.
Player of the match: Annalie Longo.
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