Day 7 of the 2019 Women's World Cup is in the books, and teams have begun clinching spots in the next round. Germany and France, who have both won their first two games of the cup, have officially qualified for the knockout stage as a result of China's victory over South Africa on Thursday. Germany and France are guaranteed one of the four best third-place spots in the next round at worse, though they'll likely finish in the top two of their respective groups. As the knockout stage begins to take a little bit of shape, Australia may have just saved its journey in France with quite the comeback, while USA stars try to clear the air on their celebrations. Here's what to know and see for the day's action:
Australia 3, Brazil 2
China 1, South Africa 0
USWNT stars open up about Thailand blowout
Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe joined the Fox Sports crew during World Cup coverage on Thursday and discussed, which has created quite the amount of buzz, but not just because of the scoreline. The U.S. continued to celebrate some of its goals in the second half, and players have for those celebrations. Rapinoe touched on that, saying, "I feel like we were pent up," while also adding that they respect every opponent.
"That sort of explosion of joy was very genuine for us," Rapinoe said. "And honestly, I think we needed it. I think our lead up has been heavy, everything off the field, all the pressure that is on us all the time. For us to just be able to go and play and enjoy ourselves ... to bring everyone in and have that feeling on the first day ... was something that was very important for us and very special for us."
Australia comes from behind to avoid disaster
The Aussies entered the tournament as one of a handful of potential title winners after the big three of the United States, Germany and France. But the loss to Italy to start the cup saw those expectations take a hit. Then, down to Brazil 2-0 in the second half, this team looked headed for an early exit rather than a deep run.
Three goals in the next 26 minutes saw the Matildas come from behind and beat Brazil 3-2. Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo brought them level, but then an own goal from Monica 66 minutes in was the difference on a controversial play. Monica was marking Sam Kerr when a ball went over the top. Kerr was offside, but Monica went back to defend it and headed it into her own goal. Initially, the assistant ref signaled offside, but it was then reviewed, and VAR confirmed a goal. Take a look:
That's a tough one, isn't it? The ruling is that Kerr did not impact the play as she didn't come close to touching the ball or forcing the movement of the defender, but had Kerr not been offside, Monica is probably a couple steps ahead, and the ball then goes over her and potentially to the goalkeeper. It's an unfortunate way for Brazil to lose, but this puts teams on alert that if a player runs past you and you feel like they are off, just let them go. Credit to Monica though for her effort, because all she was trying to do was get the ball out of danger.
Here are the complete highlights:
Afterward, Kerr had some words for her team's critics following the opening loss to Italy, telling them to "suck on that." Have a listen:
Well then ... she is fired up, and you don't want to make a player like her angry. She hasn't scored a goal yet in this tournament, but she is waiting to explode. That could mean bad news for Jamaica on the third matchday.
Marta returns, scores record-setting goal
After missing the opening win against Jamaica due to a thigh injury, Brazil legend Marta returned to the lineup against Australia. It didn't take long for the 33-year-old to get going. In the 27th minute, she put a penalty kick in the back of the net to open the game's scoring.
With the goal, Marta -- who scored for Brazil in the 2003 World Cup -- became the first player to score in five different World Cups. She also extended her own World Cup record to 16 career goals, but she taken off at half time, which seems like it could be related to her injury, though pending confirmation.
China does enough to keep hopes alive
The narrow defeat to Germany to start the cup put China in what felt like must-win mode against a South Africa team that showed very little in the opening game. The Chinese did enough on Thursday with a 1-0 win. Li Ying scored a fine strike in the first half by redirecting a cross into the net in a match they should have put away. Here's the goal:
Such a huge goal that puts China in a quality spot when it comes to going through potentially as a third-place team. With a zero goal differential, they are already ahead of Nigeria who are in third in Group A with three points and a minus-one goal differential. The four best third-place teams move on.