Job done for one of the Women’s World Cup favorites.
Germany clinched top spot in Group B, recording a 4-0 win over South Africa in Montpellier to maintain its perfect record through three matches.
The Germans were already assured of a place in the next round of the tournament after winning their first two contests, and goals from four different scorers on Monday – Melanie Leupolz, Sara Dabritz, Alexandra Popp, and Lina Magull – ensured their unblemished mark remained intact. It’s the seventh time Germany has won its group at the Women’s World Cup.
The concurrent Group B fixture, meanwhile, saw both Spain and China join them in the knockout stage by virtue of their goalless draw in Le Havre. The former, advancing out of the group stage for the first time ever, nabbed second place, while China moves on as one of the best third-placed sides.
China, a finalist in 1999, has now moved past the group stage every time it’s qualified for the tournament.
Monday’s action was the first real indication that Germany could deliver on its tag as one of the tournament favorites. Ranked No. 2 in the world upon arriving in France, Germany underwhelmed in its opening two matches, earning slim 1-0 victories.
Though it came against, admittedly, a lower level of opposition, Germany finally seemed to find some attacking cohesion, which will put the other contenders on notice going into the business end of the competition.