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German players celebrate after their teammate Germany's Lina Magull scores her side's fourth goal during the Women's World Cup Group B soccer match between South Africa and Germany at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier, France, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Group B Matchday 3 Recap: Germany, Spain, and China all through to knockout stages

Matchday three of Group B in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup provided two drastically different games. Germany cruised past South Africa to top the group, while Spain and China played to a scoreless stalemate to decide who finished second and third.

Germany Found Their Stride

In their first two games of this World Cup, Die Nationalelf underwhelmed with two narrow 1-0 victories over China and Spain. Germany is the N0. 2 ranked team in the world and only lost once in all of the qualifying group stage matches while scoring plenty of goals.

So, it was rather unexpected when Germany took an impressive long shot from 19-year-old Giulia Gwinn to break the deadlock in the second half against China. Against Spain, Germany benefited from some lackluster defending for Sara Daebritz to poke in the decisive goal.

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Already guaranteed a spot in the next round, Germany’s final group stage game against South Africa was a chance for the team to start firing on all cylinders before the single elimination knockout stage.

And the team performed to the tune of a 4-0 victory early Monday afternoon.

Germany set up to be aggressive. Gwinn started at right-back despite being a winger by trade, and versatile veteran Verena Schweers started at left back over more defensive-minded players.

Germany found the back of the net three times in the first half, with Schweers and Gwinn both grabbing assists after their crosses ended in headed goals. Lina Magull scored the fourth in the second half.

The team could have had more, too. They let several chances go to waste on the day.

South Africa made history at this World Cup as 2019 was their first ever qualification. However, they got thoroughly outplayed Monday. Banyana Banyana registered only one shot on target against Germany and four shots on target in all of group stage play.

Steel Roses stand strong

China went into Monday’s game against Spain with a clear game plan: do not concede a goal.

The Steel Roses were very content without the ball; they allowed Spain to play their possession-heavy style. China was outnumbered 24-1 in shots and only had 37% possession.

With this strategy, they got the point they needed and will advance to the knockout round as one of the best third-place teams in the tournament.

Spain had their share of chances but a strong performance from Chinese keeper Peng Shimeng ensured a 0-0 draw. Shimeng had 9 saves.

Jenny Hermoso continued to be a bright spot for the Spanish side. She delivered some dangerous crosses and had a few scoring chances, although she could not finish them.

Spain advances as the second-place team in the group and will most likely have to face the No. 1 ranked USA in the next round.

About John Miceli

I've seen how deeply sports can impact people, and I would love to share in that passion and commitment in any way I could as a career. I like all sports, but I love soccer and basketball. @johnmiceli13

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