France scored early and often to reach the last 16 at the Women’s World Cup, England also progressed while South Korea came from behind to eliminate Spain in Wednesday’s dramatic conclusion to the group stage in Canada.
The French scored the opening goal after just 34 seconds and were 3-0 up inside 13 minutes as they beat Mexico 5-0. That was enough for Les Bleues to top Group F on goal difference ahead of England, which beat Colombia 2-1. Despite the loss, Colombia still progressed as one of the four third-placed nations with the best records.
Brazil completed a perfect group record by beating Costa Rica 1-0, with the late goal knocking out the Central American team, but the drama in Group E came in the other match, where South Korea scored twice in the second half to beat Spain 2-1.
The round of 16 begins on Saturday when Germany faces Sweden and China takes on Cameroon. Sunday’s matches will be France vs. South Korea, Brazil vs. Australia and host Canada against Switzerland. The United States meets Colombia on Monday when England will face Norway, and the second round will be completed on Tuesday when defending champion Japan meets the Netherlands.
France’s Marie Delie headed in the opening goal after 34 seconds —the second-fastest goal in the history of the Women’s World Cup — to begin the rout of Mexico.
The fastest goal in the history of the event was after 30 seconds, by Sweden’s Lena Videkull against Japan in 1991.
Jennifer Ruiz had an own goal in the ninth minute, and Eugenie Le Sommer made it 3-0 with a mid-air tap-in. Le Sommer added her second goal in the 36th, and Amandine Henry got the final goal in the 80th.
Mexico exits the tournament still looking for its first World Cup win. It has played nine matches, drawing three and losing six while being outscored 30-6.
England’s Karen Carney and Fara Williams scored first-half goals to lead the Lionesses to a 2-1 victory over Colombia.
Carney scored in the 15th minute with a shot through the legs of goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda, who allowed a rebound on her diving save of Stephanie Houghton’s initial shot.
Williams converted a penalty in the 38th minute after a handball by Carolina Arias, who was sliding to stop a shot.
Lady Andrade scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time for Colombia.
Colombia had already been guaranteed of a second-round berth before the match, and must turn to a second-string goalkeeper for the upcoming match against the U.S, because Sepulveda is suspended after picking up her second yellow card of the tournament.
South Korea’s Soo-yun Kim scored the winner in the 78th minute to cap a 2-1 victory over Spain that put the Koreans through at the expense of the Spaniards.
Veronica Boquete scored in the 29th minute and Spain held a 1-0 lead at halftime.
South Korea equalized in the 53rd minute when Yu-mi Kang passed the ball over three defenders to captain So-hyun Cho, who headed home.
The winning goal came when Kim floated her shot from the just outside the penalty area and over the hands of diving goalkeeper Ainhoa Tirapu.
Spain almost equalized in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Sonia Bermudez’s free kick hit the crossbar. Had that gone in, it would have lifted Spain above South Korea in the standings, and level with Costa Rica on points and goal-scoring criteria, forcing a drawing of lots to decide second place.
It was a deserved victory for Brazil, which controlled 64 percent of possession and outshot the Central American debutants 20-3. Brazil has not conceded a goal so far in the tournament.