Women’s World Cup: Germany, Norway advance to KO round; Thailand in trouble in 3rd

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Just like that, we’re exactly halfway (26 of 52 games played) through the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada, and two of 16 places in the first knockout round have been booked, after Germany hammered Thailand, 4-0, and Norway defeated Ivory Coast, 3-1, during the last round of Group B play on Monday.

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It took Germany a bit of time to finally break through the Thai defense and find the back of the net, but when Melanie Leupolz did so in the 24th minute, the Germans were all but home free. Lena Petermann added a pair of goals in the 56th and 58th minutes to make the score 3-0, and Sara Daebritz added the emphatic exclamation point in the 73rd minute.

Meanwhile, Norway were busy fussing with the underdog Ivorian side who needed a victory and lots of help elsewhere in order to advance from the group stage. Ada Hegerberg put her side ahead after just six minutes, but the Norwegians were made to wait almost an hour for any sort of insurance goals. Hegerberg netter her second of the game in the 62nd minute and Solveig Gulbrandsen added a third five minutes later. Ivory Coast grabbed a late consolation goal through Ange Nguessan in the 71st minute.

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Germany advance as the winners of Group B (+14 goal differential, to Norway’s +6 — level on seven points), while Norway advance as runners-up. Germany will face a third-place team from one of three groups in the round of 16, while Norway will face the runners-up from Group F, which looks likely to be any one of Colombia, England or France.

Thailand can advance only if Sweden, the current fifth-ranked third-place team (of six) fails to beat Australia in their final group game on Tuesday. Even a draw moves Australia ahead of Thailand based on tiebreakers.