Wang Lisi's winner pushes China past the Netherlands in Group A
China stunned the Netherlands 1-0 in Edmonton behind a last-minute goal from Wang Lisi. The result leaves three teams tied on three points in Group A with Canada yet to play and ensures that the final day of group play will be meaningful.
Wang Lisi was held onside by a Dutch defense that had been erratic all game long, and simply poked the ball to the far post with a slow roller. Keeper Sari van Veenendaal seemed caught in two minds and was helpless as the ball just tucked inside the upright.
The teams came into the match heading in different directions: China, of course, were denied an opening day draw against the hosts in controversial fashion when a dubious late penalty was awarded. Holland, on the other hand, rode an early goal from Lieke Martens to a deserved 1-0 win over New Zealand. And the Dutch came into the game knowing that a win would book them a place in the round of 16, regardless of what Canada did in the nightcap (The hosts are set to play New Zealand in the late game).
But from the start, the Dutch struggled with a feisty Chinese side that looked far more comfortable today than they had in the opener. Martens, despite having an early look at Wang Fei's net, faded badly as the game went on; the closest the Dutch would come after that was when Vivianne Miedema skated her shot well wide of the far post.
Ren Guixin tested sub van Veenendaal, in the nets for an injured Loes Geurts, three times in the first half, the best chance an unfortunately placed header that was easy for the keeper. Han Peng was by far the most active, creating a handful of chances that put the Dutch on their heels, and kept Danielle van de Donk off the ball.
It was more of the same in the second half, with Tang Jiali getting behind the Dutch defense in the 53rd, only to fire her shot right at van Veenendaal. Van Veenendaal would remain busy, pulling off nine saves and seeing her area peppered. Tang Jiali ripped a shot off the bar in the 65th, but you did get the sense that while the Chinese looked like they could create chances, they looked far less likely to finish them. China, in fact, had endured their longest goal drought at the World Cup until Wang Lisi's last minute goal.
Holland will now face Canada in the final game of group play while China take on New Zealand with all to play for.