Australia advances past Canada, 4-0, without Sam Kerr

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Australia's Hayley Raso celebrates a second goal in a win over Canada.
Australia‘s Hayley Raso, right, celebrates after scoring her side’s second goal during the Women’s World Cup Group B soccer match between Australia and Canada in Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo/Victoria Adkins)

Australia wasted no time in a match it needed to win to stay in the tournament instead of watching the rest play out on its home soil.

Hayley Raso scored a first-half brace and Mary Fowler put a goal back on the board after one was overturned by VAR to lead Australia to a 4-0 win over Canada at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. The lack of a point eliminated Canada, the reigning Olympic champions, from the tournament.

Australia topped Group B with six points. Nigeria advanced with five points. Canada (four points) and Ireland (one) are eliminated. Canada is the first reigning Olympic champion to not reach the knockout round of the ensuing World Cup tournament.

The Matildas have been without superstar striker Sam Kerr, who sustained a calf injury on the eve of the tournament. Kerr said ahead of the match she was available for the contest, but how and when that availability would be used wasn’t for anyone, particularly their opponent, to know. Kerr did not see any minutes with the match solidly in the host country’s control.

Raso scored in the ninth minute on a low crossing strike from the right side. They kept the pressure on and nearly added another minutes later, but it was saved by Kailen Sheridan Fowler powered in a close strike in the 34th minute and while Sheridan was being looked at by trainers, officials went to VAR. The goal was disallowed due to an attacking player offside.

Raso added it back 1:58 after the overturn call when she connected with a loose corner to go into the half, 2-0. Fowler secured her goal back in the 58th minute after one of Canada’s best chances at a goal went high. Canada’s first shot on target was in the 66th minute that Mackenzie Arnold saved off her foot. The Canadians came close again in the 88th that Sheridan tipped wide right.

Steph Catley scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time on a foul in the box on Katrina Gorry. It was the capper that brought the crowd to a roar.

Ireland 0, Nigeria 0

Nigeria is in the knockout stage for the third time in history and could play any of the teams in Group C. England, Denmark, China and Haiti are all in contention and will play on Tuesday morning.

Asisat Oshoala had two attempts on goal for Nigeria, but couldn’t get past Irish keeper Onome Ebi, 40, became the first African footballer to play in six World Cups.

It was the first Women’s World Cup point for Ireland.

Hinata Miyazawa scored a brace in the first half and Japan cruised over Spain, 4-0, to win Group C. Both sides had clinched spots in the knockout round heading into the match, but were playing for seeding.

Japan had only three touches in the Spain box in the first half, but led, 3-0, by the break. They possessed for 23% of the game, the lowest share of possession by a winning side at a Women’s World Cup (since 2011).

Miyazawa broke through in the 12th minute off a pass by Jun Endo and put it low for the opening score. Riko Ueki, who turned 24 the day prior, added one in the 29th minute on another breakaway. It was deflected off a defender’s boot into the ground and over goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez.

Miyazawa powered in her second from the right side to put Spain into a deep hole. And Mina Tanaka scored the final goal in the 85th minute with a curling shot into the back corner.

Spain took more attempts on goal, 10-8, but only two were on target and none found the net. The completed 842 passes to Japan’s 174 and completed eight crosses to Japan’s one.

Japan outscored their three opponents, 11-0, and completed the group stage without conceding a goal for the first time in history. They will play Norway in the Round of 16. Both sides have won a World Cup previously: Japan in 2011 and Norway in 1995.

Spain will play Switzerland.

Zambia earned its first World Cup win in history with a 3-1 final against Costa Rica at Waikato Stadium in their final match of the tournament.

Lushomo Mweemba scored in the third minute on an corner kick for the early lead and Barbra Banda converted on a penalty kick in the 31st. It was her 1,000th Women’s World Cup goal in tournament history.

Costa Rica had three yellow cards within the first 25 minutes, and yellows were later awarded to Zambia’s Martha Tembo and Banda. In between, Costa Rica’s Melissa Herrera cut the lead in half by collecting a loose corner to score in the 47th minute. It was the country’s first goal of the tournament.

Herrera nearly equalized in the 69th, but was ruled offside. Rachael Kundananji put the match away for Zambia in stoppage time.



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#Australia #advances #Canada #Sam #Kerr

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