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France surge into last eight with Spain scalp

Spain 0-1 France
Les Bleues assured themselves of a spot in the quarter-finals as Group C winners with a game to spare thanks to Wendie Renard's early header.

France surge into last eight with Spain scalp
France surge into last eight with Spain scalp ©UEFA.com

France booked themselves a berth in the quarter-finals as Group C winners with a game to spare after Wendie Renard's early header sealed a 1-0 defeat of Spain.

England's 1-1 draw with Russia in the early game meant the winners of this fixture were assured of top spot, and Les Bleues wasted no time in staking their claim as Renard steered in a Louisa Necib corner after five minutes. Spain caught the eye with their possession play, but Bruno Bini's side were rarely given reason to panic as they left their rivals second in the section on three points.

Having scored from their first real opening against Russia, France demonstrated the same ruthless efficiency once again, Renard bustling in front of Irene Paredes and using her height to pounce. One chance, one goal, though Sarah Bouhaddi soon had to lunge to her right to grapple hold of an Adriana shot.

Bouhaddi's opposite number Ainhoa Tirapu then produced an even better stop to parry a Necib effort, sailing left to deny the tricky No14 – back in the starting lineup at Eugénie Le Sommer's expense. Spain were by no means overawed, however, and their opponents just about cleared their lines after Sonia raced beyond Bouhaddi and picked out Adriana with a cross.

Indeed, France's next opportunity came on the break, Marie-Laure Delie releasing Gaëtane Thiney, who cut inside Paredes and tested Tirapu to her right. Spain's composure on the ball was certainly noteworthy, but Bini's charges were quick in their pressing and saw out the half in relative comfort.

The France coach injected the pace of Élodie Thomis after the restart, and the two teams continued their tense back-and-forth, which was undoubtedly high on energy if low on chances. Adriana had an attempt blocked by team-mate Paredes and Abily called Tirapu into action at the other end, before Delie nodded over and later did likewise with a heavy swipe from close range.

Sonia sought to level the scores with a dipping free-kick, but Bouhaddi claimed the ball with an ease that summed up France's serenity. So far so good for Les Bleues, while Spain need a point against Russia on Thursday to join them in the knockout stage.

Player of the match: Laura Georges

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