Delie, France advance to Women’s WC quarters

Players from France celebrate a goal by teammate Marie-Laurie Delie against South Korea during second half FIFA Womens World Cup round of 16. (Graham Hughes/CP)

MONTREAL — It didn’t take long for France to assert its dominance in its round of 16 matchup.

The third-ranked French team scored two early goals and never looked back en route to a 3-0 victory over South Korea in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Montreal on Sunday.

France will now play Germany in the quarter-final on Friday in Montreal.

"The players were very determined from the get go," said French coach Philippe Bergeroo. "That’s the sign of our tactical work. We wanted to suffocate the opposing team. It’s a sign of our players’ determination.

"We’re extremely satisfied with our game. The players are playing with confidence."

The French (3-1-0) scored twice within eight minutes of kickoff and gave the South Koreans (1-2-1) little hope for a comeback from thereon.

Forward Marie Laure Delie scored in the fourth minute of play and midfielder Elodie Thomis padded France’s lead in the eighth. Delie added another shortly after halftime.

"There was pressure on us, for sure," said Thomis, who was France’s most dangerous player. "We knew that if we lost this game, we’d be going home tomorrow. We played well tonight."

Philippe Bergeroo’s team put on a dominant display for the 15,518 in attendance at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

From the opening whistle, France controlled play in midfield and repeatedly beat South Korea down the wing with speed. The South Koreans were no match for France’s brisk and precise one-touch passes.

"We deviated from our plans," said South Korean head coach Yoon Dukyeo. "That’s why we didn’t do very well. The overlapping players were the reason we conceded those goals. We anticipated that, but our defence couldn’t do enough. Their speed was incredible."

An impressive display of one-touch soccer led to France’s first two goals.

In the fourth minute, left back Laure Boulleau engineered a nice give-and-go with midfielder Camille Abily on the edge of the box before feeding Delie for the game’s first goal.

Four minutes later, Thomis doubled France’s lead by orchestrating a give-and-go of her own. Down the right wing this time, Thomis gave the ball to forward Eugenie Le Sommer, who passed it right back to Thomis in the penalty box. The 29-year-old made no mistake from close range, firing past a helpless Jungmi Kim in the South Korean net.

"When we play our game, when we put together good passing plays like that one, we score goals," said Thomis. "That’s good for us. We just need to continue."

The French had 61 per cent possession in the first half and outshot their opponents 7-3. The victors finished the match with 62 per cent possession.

Delie added her second goal in the 48th minute. Le Sommer blew past two South Korean players and squared the ball to Delie, who fired her shot between Kim’s legs.

Delie is now tied with Le Sommer with a team-high three goals in the tournament.

South Korea’s best chance of the game came in the 75th minute when substitute Younga Yoo fired a shot from the distance, but France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi punched it away.

With the win, the French now have a much-anticipated meeting with the top-seeded Germans in the quarter-final.

"Each team has their style," said Bergeroo of the quarter-final matchup. "The Germans are strong. Their players are formidable on the ball. But we need to play our game. That’s how we’ll be successful. We need to stick to our own plan."

Notes: France’s women’s team is ranked third in the world. The South Koreans are 18th. … Louisa Necib was back in the starting lineup after sitting out France’s final group-stage game. … The game was delayed six minutes in the first half after Kim took an elbow to the head by teammate Eunsun Park. … France’s Amandine Henry was named player of the match.

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