Spain, China Advance to 2019 Women's World Cup Knockout Stage After 0-0 Draw

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 17, 2019

Spain's forward Mariona Caldentey (C) vies with China's forward Ying Li during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group B football match between China and Spain, on June 17, 2019, at the Oceane Stadium in Le Havre, northwestern France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

Spain secured their place in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup round of 16 despite being held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by China on Monday.  

A share of the spoils was enough for the Spaniards to clinch second place in Group B and automatically advance to the next round. China also head into the next round, with four points enough to see them finish as one of the best third-place finishers.

Germany thrashed South Africa 4-0 to top Group B with a perfect record, and they'll face one of the third-place finishers in the last 16.

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The first half played out like an exhibition between the pair as Spain enjoyed all of the attacking chances and kept China from testing Sandra Panos between their posts.

But as was the case during their 1-0 defeat to Group B leaders Germany, La Roja showed little in terms of finishing quality as focal point Jennifer Hermoso was marked out time and again.

Sportswriter Jeff Kassouf illustrated Spain's dominance in the first 45 minutes:

Spain had nine attempts on goal in the first—two on target—per Flashscores.com, but China failed to have any impression on the enemy net, per Match of the Day:

Forward Lucia Garcia had a gaping opportunity to spark the breakthrough early in the second period after she set off down the right flank with the Chinese defence scampering back.

Team-mate Andrea Flacon was bearing down on goal in the centre of the box, but Garcia's attempt trickled across the opponent's goal in what could have been a cross or a shot.

The ball found its way to Garcia minutes later yards out from goal, but China simply had enough bodies back in the box to get a block and charge down the chance.

That summed up much of Spain's frustrations in attack on Monday, and indeed for most of this tournament so far.

Goalkeeper Peng Shimeng was also to thank for China's clean sheet remaining intact beyond the hour mark, via Fox (U.S. only):

Coach Jorge Vilda substituted on Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas in a bid to inspire a winner, but Spain didn't have the ingenuity to find a way around China's defence.

Spain may be disappointed to finish the group campaign with only one win to their name, though they'll move on quickly as they look forward to taking their spot in the last 16.

The United States lead Group F with a big advantage in goal difference and will advance to face Spain in the next stage if they secure a draw or better against second-place Sweden on Thursday.

        

What's Next?

Spain will face the winners of Group F in the next round—either the United States or Sweden—while China advance as one of the best third-place finishers and will wait to discover their next opponent.

        

This article will be updated to provide more information soon.

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