WWC Round of 16: China vs Cameroon

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The Football Sack brings you all you need to know from China’s Round of 16 win over Cameroon.

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What happened
China’s approach to this game was simple; wear the brute strength of the Cameroonians and then use their skill advantage to out play them. It worked perfectly as the Chinese passed around their African opponents regularly, and after going up from a corner in the 12th minute they were able to repel the chances that Cameroon produced while still creating chances from counter attacks.

The Cameroonians went into the break with a number of shots under the belt, but none threatened and the second-half heroics of the last group game couldn’t be repeated.

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More shots from distance, more inaccurate passing and resolute Chinese defending were the insurmountable factors for Cameroon, and a one-nil loss has them packing their bags.

Stand out performers
Small Chinese midfielder Han Peng was a major factor in her side’s victory in the Round of 16, leading the charge with a number of counter attacks. Her crossing was another feature as she constantly found unmarked strikers at the back post. For the entire 90 minutes Cameroon were unable to answer the questions she asked of them, and if the strikers had been able to finish the chances she created, the one goal win could have easily been two or three.
Talking points
Both sides’ performance in the final third left a lot to be desired, with a number of chances squandered because of ordinary finishing. Cameroon belted a majority of the shots they had into the stands, while China’s Wang Shanshan was unable to capitalise on one-on-one situations twice in the second half.
What it means
For China a date awaits with the winner of the USA vs. Colombia, while Cameroon’s squad are on the next flight back to Yaounde.
Needs work
China has to do something about the finishing it had in display in Edmonton, with a number of chances to score being squandered. The trepidation they showed in front of goal – particularly in one-on-ones – has to be addressed before their quarter final tie, because against better sides those chances won’t come as often.
What next
China will play either the USA or Colombia in the quarter final. The USA will be a much tougher ask than the Colombians, so there’s no doubt the Chinese will be cheering the South Americans on Tuesday.

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Goal of the match
In what was an extraordinarily tough choice, this award goes to the only goal of the day, scored by Wang Shanshan in the 12thminute. In what was an obviously rehearsed set piece, the corner flew to the far post and was then cut back in to Shanshan who was waiting unmarked on the penalty spot. Her volley was too good for Ngo Ndom.
Miss of the match
Shanshan wins this one too. Twice she found herself with just the keeper to beat after strong Chinese counter attacks, and twice she inexplicably stopped to allow defenders to meet her. Both her shots went limp and wide, and she’ll be a relieved woman having manages to get the win in spite of her mistakes.

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