In Matchday 3 action from Group G, France defeated New Zealand 3-0 at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador on Tuesday evening.
With a possible berth in the quarterfinals on the line, New Zealand and France played a rather cagey opening twenty minutes where scoring chances were at premium.
While France had more possession, the team that thumped Colombia 4-0 in its first match didn’t generate as many chances as one might have thought they would. However, Les Bleus would score out of virtually nothing in the 38th minute.
Not struck with much power, a long-range shot by midfielder Elise Bussaglia clanged off the post and came right back front of the goal. French star forward Eugenie Le Sommer was following up the shot and put in the rebound past New Zealand goalie Erin Nayler for the 1-0 lead.
As the half went on, France started to control the game even more in terms of dictating play deep in New Zealand’s end. However, the Europeans didn’t produce anymore quality scoring opportunities after Le Sommer’s goal and so the halfitme score was 1-0.
The French continued to have more of the ball and the better of play as the second half started and moved into its latter stages. While New Zealand wasn’t posing much of an attacking threat, it was clear that the Kiwis were looking to find forward Hannah Wilkinson whenever they could. However, those opportunities were very limited.
Things really started to look bleak for New Zealand when France extended its lead by two goals in the 63rd minute. Midfielder Elodie Thomis made a run down the flank and served in a pinpoint cross from the right side that found the head of the onrushing Louisa Necib, who emphatically finished past Nayler.
France would have a few more half-chances in the remaining half hour and added a third in stoppage time for good measure on a penalty kick by Necib. The side wearing white would comfortably win 3-0, coming away with three points and a precious place in the quarterfinals.
With the result of this match and the U.S’ victory over Colombia, the U.S. wins Group G while France advances in second place. France will play Canada in its quarterfinal matchup and the U.S.’ opponent is yet to be determined.