The United States beat Nigeria 1-0 to secure top place in its group at the Women’s World Cup, while Australia and Cameroon got the results they needed to also reach the knockout stages on Tuesday.
Australia drew 1-1 against Sweden at Edmonton to finish second behind the U.S. in Group D, and leave Sweden third, while Cameroon beat Switzerland 2-1 in Edmonton to take second ahead of the Swiss in Group C.
In the day’s other result, already-qualified Japan beat Ecuador 1-0 in Winnipeg to complete the group stage with three out of three wins.
The best four of the six third-place teams will also progress to the last 16 in the Canada-based tournament. Those placings will be finalized by Wednesday’s remaining games in Groups E and F, but the Netherlands, with four points, and Switzerland, with three and a strong goal differential, are certain to be two of the four to advance.
The United States needed a goal by veteran striker Abby Wambach late in the first half to beat Nigeria 1-0 in Vancouver.
It was Wambach’s 14th World Cup goal, putting her level with Germany’s Birgit Prinz for second on the all-time list behind Brazil’s Marta, who has 15.
Wambach, who was used as a substitute in the previous game, started up front with Alex Morgan, who was making her first start of the tournament after working her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee.
Australia knew a point against Sweden would be enough to reach the knockout stage, and secured its place with a draw.
Lisa De Vanna put Australia up 1-0 in the fifth minute after a breakaway behind the Swedish defense. Sweden equalized in the 15th on a strike from just outside the penalty box by Sofia Jakobsson.
The Swedes had opportunities to go ahead but finished the group stage with a third straight draw, and will be sweating on Wednesday’s results to know if that is enough to reach the next stage.
Australia’s opponent in the second round will be Brazil, which has already secured top spot in Group E with a game to spare. The game will be in the East Coast city of Moncton.
Cameroon’s Madeleine Ngono Mani came off the bench to score one of two second-half goals to beat Switzerland 2-1 and claim second place in Group C.
Switzerland led after Ana Maria Crnogorcevic’s goal in the 24th minute, and it controlled the action for much of the half.
However, Cameroon equalized on a powerful strike by Gabrielle Onguene straight after halftime. Mani, who came off the bench in the 57th, followed with her 40th career goal five minutes later for the win.
Cameroon will play China in Edmonton on Saturday in the round of 16.
Japan’s Yuki Ogimi scored in the fifth minute and that was enough for the defending champion to beat Ecuador 1-0. It was the 54th international goal for Ogimi. Her shot from close range bounced in off the crossbar.
Ecuador, which was outscored 16-1 in losses to Cameroon and Switzerland, kept this one close until the end.
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