Narrow defeats for China PR, Korea Republic in final dress rehearsals
Creteil: China PR pushed host nation France before suffering a 2-1 defeat, while Korea Republic conceded late to fall to a 1-0 loss in Sweden as Asia’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 hopefuls continued their pre-tournament build-up on Friday.
FRANCE 2-1 CHINA PR
China PR gave France a scare but were unable to prevent the World Cup hosts from racking up their fifth successive win thanks to a second-half rocket from Kadidiatou Diani.
Diani’s strike – her sixth for France in 2019, and third in two matches following a brace against Thailand last weekend – cancelled out a fine goal scored by Wang Shanshan just moments earlier, after Valêrie Gauvin had given Corinne Diacre’s side a half-time lead.
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France started strongly at a near-capacity Stade Dominique Duvauchelle, and it took two strong Peng Shimeng saves to deny both Gauvin and Diani, but there was nothing the 21-year-old shot stopper could do to stop Gauvin slamming the ball into the roof of the net after being found by Montpellier teammate Marion Torrent at the half-hour mark.
China PR introduced Paris-based Wang Shuang at half-time and she made an direct impact, delivering a sublime pass for Wang Shanshan who dinked the ball just over veteran goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to level the tie, and delight the sizeable throng of Chinese supporters, in the 52nd minute.
But the Steel Roses only remained on level terms for six minutes, with Diani dribbling through the Chinese defence before thrashing in a wonderful goal from 20 yards to keep France’s winning streak intact in their final dress rehearsal for a home World Cup.
Despite their defeat, China PR are bound to take some positives from an encouraging performance into their opening FIFA Women’s World Cup clash against two-time winners Germany on June 8.
SWEDEN 1-0 KOREA REPUBLIC
Korea Republic will arrive at France 2019 without a win in their last three matches, after they conceded a last gasp goal to suffer a 1-0 defeat against Sweden at Göteborg’s Gamia Ullevi Stadium.
In a largely even affair, Yoon Duk-yeo’s side managed eight shots at goal to Sweden’s seven, but failed to get on the scoresheet for the first time since a 1-0 loss to China PR in January.
Korea Republic did find the back of the net in the 47th minute through Ji So-yun, but the goal was ruled out after the Chelsea star was adjudged to be offside.
That moment appeared to be the closest either side would get to breaking the deadlock, but 23-year-old forward Madlen Janogy worked her way into the box before scoring with a low effort from 15 yards in the first minute of stoppage time to give Sweden a 1-0 win.
Korea Republic will face France in the FIFA Women’s World Cup’s opening match next Friday, before facing Norway and Nigeria in their remaining group stage fixtures.
Photos: AFP, AFC
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