Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

Italy has proven to be one of the revelations of the tournament. (AFP)
Updated 25 June 2019

Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

  • Italy will play either Japan or the Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes
  • China had only allowed one goal in its three group stage games but the talented Italian attack broke down the vaunted defense

MONTPELLIER, France: Valentina Giacinti and Aurora Galli scored and Italy earned its first appearance in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup since 1991 after beating China 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Giacinti created and finished off her 15th-minute opener before Galli’s long strike put the result beyond doubt four minutes after halftime at the stiflingly hot Stade de la Mosson.
Playing in its first World Cup in 20 years, Italy has proven to be one of the revelations of the tournament by making the final eight after winning its group ahead of Brazil and Australia.
Italy will play either Japan or the Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes.
China had only allowed one goal in its three group stage games but the talented Italian attack broke down the vaunted defense.
Galli scored after coming on to replace striker Cristina Girelli, who walked off the field late in the first half with an apparent leg problem.
But it was Giacinti who was a force in the early stage of the match.
While Girelli and Barbara Bonansea had combined for five goals in the group phase, Giacinti had yet to score in the tournament.
She threatened on two other occasions Tuesday before finally finding the back of the net. She thought she had struck an early goal but it was ruled offside. Another shot swerved wide of the post after Bonansea intercepted a poor pass by a Chinese defender.
Giacinti then produced the chance that led to her opening goal. After pressuring to win a ball near the touchline, she raced down the flank and found Bonansea, who waited to find left back Elsa Bartoli joining the move. Bartoli’s shot was blocked by China goalkeeper Peng Shimeng, only for Giacinti to pounce on the loose ball and drive it home.
China midfielder Wang Yan did manage to make Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani palm her effort over the bar in the 28th minute.
But Peng then had to dive to parry a powerful strike from Valentina Bergamaschi as Italy looked close to a quick second goal against a China team that couldn’t handle its press and its trio of attackers.
Once China settled down and eliminated sloppy passes, the action tilted momentarily to the other half. Forward Li Ying gave Bartoli fits with her dribbling and she made the Italian defenders work with her dangerous crosses.
Italy suffered a bigger blow when it lost Girelli in the 39th.
She was replaced by Galli, who surprised Peng with a right-footed strike that went skimming over the turf and beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.
It was Galli’s third goal of the tournament. She got two in a 5-0 rout of Jamaica, also as a substitute.
China pushed for a goal to spark a comeback, but center backs Sara Gama and Elena Linari kept Giuliani from having to make any significant saves.
Italy has scored nine goals in its three wins in the tournament.
The Italians also maintained their stingy defense with a second clean sheet. Both goals they have conceded so far came on penalties.
China went home with just one goal scored.


Liverpool stretch Premier League lead, Chelsea, Tottenham hit form

Updated 14 September 2019

Liverpool stretch Premier League lead, Chelsea, Tottenham hit form

  • Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick as Chelsea romped to a 5-2 win at Wolves
  • Spurs were 4-0 up by half-time against Crystal Palace to record just their second win of the season

LONDON: Liverpool recovered from a shock Newcastle opener to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Anfield, as Tottenham and Chelsea bounced back to form with big wins on Saturday.
Tammy Abraham’s sensational form continued as the English forward scored a hat-trick as Chelsea romped to a 5-2 win at Wolves.
Spurs were 4-0 up by half-time against Crystal Palace to record just their second win of the season as Son Heung-min scored twice, while Erik Lamela and an own goal from Patrick van Aanholt rounded off the scoring on a miserable day for the Eagles.
An injury-hit Manchester United also coped without Paul Pogba to inflict Leicester’s first defeat of the season as Marcus Rashford scored the only goal from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
United join Tottenham and Chelsea on eight points from five games, but Liverpool protected the only 100 percent record in the league by reacting to a slow start in style.
Manchester City can close the gap at the top to two points with victory later on Saturday at Norwich.
Jetro Willems fired Newcastle in front on seven minutes to leave the European champions trailing at Anfield for the first time since March.
Sadio Mane fired into the top corner to start the revival, but it was the introduction of Roberto Firmino off the bench for the injured Divock Origi that truly turned the tide in Liverpool’s favor.
The Brazilian’s through ball was spilled by Martin Dubravka to allow Mane a simple task for his second just before half-time, and another brilliant Firmino flick teed up Salah to seal the points 18 minutes from time.
“I started enjoying after 25 minutes, around about when we arrived finally in the game,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“Second-half we scored only one goal, but we played really good football and I liked it a lot.”
Frank Lampard has endured a difficult start on his return to Stamford Bridge as manager, but he enjoyed his finest day so far in charge of the Blues with his faith in youth again fully vindicated.
Fikayo Tomori, 21, fired the visitors in front at Molineux with his first goal for the club before Abraham took over to take his tally to seven in his last three games with three brilliant finishes from close range.
“All three goals were so different, it just shows what he can do,” said Lampard.
“I am so delighted for him. I know how hard the academy works and Tammy has an enthusiasm to score goals. He has a fantastic approach to the game and how he wants to progress.”
Abraham’s busy afternoon was not over as he then turned into his own net and Patrick Cutrone cut Wolves’ deficit to two before Mason Mount rounded off the scoring for Chelsea late on.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hoped that the end of the European transfer window would settle his squad and the Champions League finalists looked more like their old selves by tearing apart Palace from the off.
Son was the star as the South Korean opened the scoring then finished off a fine team move by volleying home Serge Aurier’s cross after Van Aanholt deflected a cross into his own net.
“I think the players deserve more than three points today,” said Son.
Harry Kane was unable to build on his goalscoring form for England, but did play a part in the fourth as his cross was turned home by Lamela.
United had to suffer far more for just a second win in 10 league matches.
Rashford shrugged off his recent miss from the spot in defeat to Palace to convert a penalty on eight minutes after he had been brought down by Caglar Soyuncu.
“We hung in there. It was the first time this season where we have had to defend for large periods,” said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“We have dominated the other games but today we saw a team that could defend in their own half.
Brighton edged out Burnley 1-0 at the Amex thanks to Neil Maupay’s winner early in the second-half.
Southampton were also 1-0 victors at Sheffield United courtesy of a brilliant strike from Moussa Djenepo.