Germany on course to avoid US after tight Spain win

Spain’s Patri Guijarro, left, in action with Germany’s Alexandra Popp. (Reuters)
Updated 13 June 2019

Germany on course to avoid US after tight Spain win

VALENCIENNES, France: Germany brushed off the absence of injured star player Dzsenifer Marozsan to beat Spain 1-0 on Wednesday and take control of Group B in the women’s World Cup, virtually assuring themselves of missing the rampant US in the last 16.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Sara Daebritz earned the Germans a hard-fought three points by pouncing three minutes before the break ahead of dithering Spain defender Marta Torrejon, who only had to clear the ball after her goalkeeper Sandra Panos did well to save Alexandra Popp’s header.

The win puts Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side three points clear of Spain and one better on goal difference after narrow victories in both their group matches and means they need a point against South Africa — who play China in Paris on Thursday — on Saturday to be completely sure of topping the group.

That would leave whoever finished second below them to face the Americans, who were in ominous form on Tuesday as they racked up a record 13-0 win over Thailand, while the Germans would take one of the four best third-placed finishers who will make the last 16.

Second-placed Spain, who were wasteful despite dominating possession and will rue Nahikari Garcia somehow slicing wide when clean through in the 14th minute, should still qualify but face a trickier test against the Chinese, who ran Germany close in their opening 1-0 defeat.

Earlier Nigeria coach Thomas Dennerby hailed forward Asizat Oshoala as “special” after her goal helped the Super Falcons to a 2-0 win over South Korea and took them close to qualifying for the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Oshoala struck 15 minutes from the end with a super burst and finish to seal the win after a comical own goal from Kim Do-yeon, who somehow hooked a long ball back past onrushing goalkeeper Kim Min-jung, had put Nigeria ahead in the 29th minute.

“She’s very special because no-one has the speed she has,” the Swede said the lightning quick 24-year-old after a huge win, just their second in the World Cup since 1999.

“It’s important for the team because you can create a chance from nothing, even a clearance can be a goalscoring opportunity.”

The victory for Dennerby’s side left the unfortunate South Koreans pointless after their first two games in Group A and put Nigeria level with France and Norway on three ahead of their crunch clash in Nice later on Wednesday.

Nigeria can now legitimately hope for a place in the last 16 regardless of what happens in their last group match against the tournament-hosting French thanks to the best third-placed teams going through.

The three points they have could well be enough to see the Super Falcons through to the knockout rounds for the first time since 1999, when they reached the quarter-finals in the US.


Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

Updated 09 December 2019

Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

  • Leicester takes the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM: Jamie Vardy scored for an eighth straight game for Premier League high-flyer Leicester on Sunday with a double in a 4-1 dismantling of Aston Villa.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins and take the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

“We are up there, we are challenging and playing well,” Evans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Probably now, today, I think people are starting to talk more about that.

“Coming away from Villa with a really good performance, I think that’s the best Villa team we have played against for quite a while and we had to grind it out and it shows we are capable of getting good results.”

By contrast, Villa is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Villa was wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked James Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans, who could only shoot straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to hit the bar from six yards. With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak in the 20th minute.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton. Vardy miscued his kick when preparing to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with center back Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double its lead in the 41st when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.