WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROUND OF 16
France convincingly beat Korea Republic 3-0 on Sunday afternoon to set up a quarter-final with Germany who had disposed of Sweden 4-1 the night before.
Korea were without Chelsea midfielder and PFA Player of the Year Ji So-Yun due to injury, as goals from Marie Laure Delie and Elodie Thomis put France 2-0 up within 10 minutes. Delie added a second shortly after half-time to secure the knock out victory for the Blues.
In the group stages France had beaten a very defensive England 1-0, before losing to Colombia and finishing top of Group F on goal difference thanks to a 5-0 win over Mexico.
The French went ahead on the 4th minute, a wonderful passing move slicing the Korean defence wide open and Marie Laure Delie finishing the move with a left footed finish into the bottom right corner of the goal.
France doubled their lead minutes later, hitting Korea on the counter attack; a Korean free kick played down the touchline was crossed into the box for goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to punch away and France were quick to break. Elodie Thomis cutting in from the right wing, playing a quick one-two at the edge of the box, skipping past the defender and finishing well across the keeper to make it 2-0.
Korea’s attempts to get back into the game were thwarted by France, captain Wendie Renard strong at the back and Korea resulted to a rather theatrical dive from Lee Geummin inside the penalty area – correctly waved away by the referee – before Park Eunsun sent a speculative effort over the crossbar.
A lengthy break in play ensued when Korean keeper Kim Jungmi required extensive on-pitch treatment, when the match resumed Korea had perhaps their greatest chance to pull a goal back – Jeon Gaeul swinging a well-struck free kick towards the centre of Bouhaddi’s goal, Bouhaddi spilled and, fortunately for France, Renard was quickest to react to the loose ball and clear.
Both teams had further chances to score from set pieces during the first half, Lee Eunmi was booked for her challenge on Eugenie Le Sommer at the edge of the 18-yard box. Louisa Necib’s strike was cleared as far as Thomis who’s ball back into the box was caught by Kim Jungmi.
Korea then had a free kick in a good position of their own, Jeon Gaeul once again standing over it however this time leaving it for her team mate Park Eunsun who sent the ball high and wide.
Shortly before half-time, Le Sommer received the ball well in the centre of the park, turning to pass out wide to Thomis on the right. Thomis making it all the way to the byline with only a last ditch sliding challenge from Lee Eunmi preventing her from making the cross. The resulting corner was played short and the eventual cross headed wide by Renard.
HALF-TIME France 2 – 0 Korea Republic
France begun the second half much the way they had the first, attacking at every given opportunity and passing the ball well. On the 47th minute they had their 3rd goal of the afternoon Delie scoring her second after brilliant work from Le Sommer on the left – the no.9 making a great run and cutting the ball back to the incoming Delie on the 6-yard box who made it 3-0.
Phillipe Bergeroo began to make his change with 20 minutes to play, likely casting one eye towards the quarter-final with Germany; each of Le Sommer, Abily and Delie replaced by Gaetane Thiney, Kheira Hamraoui and Kadidiatou Diani.
The Europeans seen the game out with ease, Bouhaddi quick off her line to clear Jeon Gaeul’s through ball looking for Lee Geummin and also producing an excellent save – preventing Yoo Younga from scoring by stretching to tip the Korean substitute’s shot away from the top corner.
Another Korea sub Park Heeyoung also attempted to test the French keeper with a free kick, sending her effort straight at Bouhaddi
In the dying seconds of the game it could of, and probably should have, been 4-0 to France. Thomis passing to Diani in the box, Diani into the path of Hamraoui who struck the ball first time and watched as it sailed over the bar.
FRANCE XI Bouhaddi, Houara, Georges, Renard (C), Boulleau, Henry, Abily, Delie, Le Sommer, Necib, Delie
KOREA REPUBLIC XI Kim Jungmi, Kim Sooyun, Kim Doyeon, Shim Seoyeon, Lee Eunmi, Jeon Gaeul, Cho Sohyun (C), Kwan Hahnul, Kang Yumi, Lee Geummin, Park Eunsun
FIFA Player of the Match – Amandine Henry