EDMONTON, Canada (Reuters) - Twice champions Germany and a resurgent China reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup after contrasting victories the first matches in the knockout phase of the competition on Saturday.
Germany crushed Sweden 4-1 in Ottawa with Celia Sasic scored in each half against a disappointing Swedish side.
Anja Mittag and Dzsenifer Marozsan also found the target for the pre-tournament favorites. A 12th minute goal from Wang Shanshan was all that separated China from a lively Cameroon with some resilient defending ensured a place in the last eight for the 1999 runners-up. The knockout phase continues on Sunday with Brazil taking on Australia, France up against South Korea and hosts Canada facing Switzerland. Germany’s resounding victory against a traditionally strong Sweden sent a clear message that Silvia Neid’s team have a real chance to go all the way and join their male counterparts as world champions.
“Every German player seems to be comfortable with the ball ... we had a hard time defensively,” said Sweden coach Pia Sundhage. “If you want to win that kind of game when Germany is playing well you need everything to go your way and unfortunately it did not,” she said.
Neid found no need for false modesty about the performance of the 2003 and 2007 champions. “We were clearly the better team and that’s why we won ... I think (Sweden) did well but we didn’t allow them to make much of it,” she said.
“We played well but we’re not world champions yet ... we’re human beings, not robots,” she said.
China’s win came without their head coach Hao Wei on the bench as he served a one-match suspension but his assistant Chang Wei Wei was delighted with the way his players stuck at their task.
“They were resilient and brave. They were like warriors for 90 minutes,” he said.
China will face the winner of the match between the second ranked U.S. and Colombia in Edmonton on Monday with Cameroon counterpart Enow Ngachu thinking the Chinese could produce an upset if they meet the United States in the next round.
“They defend very well and looking at the way they defend I think they have chances to beat the United States,” he said.
Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Greg Stutchbury