Dutch beat Canada to win World Cup group; Japan up next

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Flags of the Netherlands and CanadaImage: ruskpp / DepositPhotos

The Oranje Leeuwinnen held their ground on Thursday to defeat Canada 2-1 in both teams' final Group E match of the 2019 World Cup. The Dutch women will go on to face Japan in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.

The Stade Auguste-Delaune II in Reims was the setting for Thursday's match. The two teams entered the pitch undefeated, with both having disposed of Cameroon and New Zealand, and the Dutch carried a slight edge before kickoff by having scored one more goal to sit at the top of the table. At the same time, the Canadians had not let in a single goal in their first two tournament matches.

Canada's shutout run was ended in the 54th minute when Anouk Dekker evaded her defender on a free kick. The midfielder ran towards the center of the goal from the right side when Sherida Spitse sent the ball in from left of the area. Dekker got her head on the ball and sent it in on the right side past Canada's goalkeeper, Stephanie Labbé.

Striker Christine Sinclair brought the match level just six minutes later, connecting on a lovely cross from Ashley Lawrence. Sinclair's fierce shot from up close rocketed right past Sari van Veenendaal, tying the match at 1-1 in the 60th minute.

But it was the substitute Lineth Beerensteyn who took advantage of a misstep by Labbé to put the Dutch up 2-1, and securing Oranje's status as the group winners. Beerensteyn managed to find space with the ball on the left side of the area, evading two defenders before passing the ball off. She then wound up a step ahead of her defenders right in front of the goal line when midfielder Desiree van Lunteren sent the ball into the six-yard area. Labbé dove to cut off the cross, but missed, leaving Beerensteyn wide open on an empty net.

The Oranje Leeuwinnen were slated to square off with Japan at the Stade de la Route de Lorient in Rennes on Thursday. Japan finished in second place among Group D teams, despite having a -1 goal differential. 

Canada also advanced to the Round of 16 by finishing second in the group, and will face the loser of Thursday night's Group F match between Sweden and the United States. Third place team Cameroon also managed to advance with a surprise late victory over New Zealand, which was eliminated with the loss.

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