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France routs Canada 4-0 to advance to quarters, Germany through with win over Nigeria

It’s heartbreak for Canada. The team that many, including myself, predicted to make the semifinals is set for a group stage exit after a shocking 4-0 loss to France on Thursday.

Christine Sinclair started for Canada despite wearing a mask over her nose, which she broke in Canada’s opener against Germany on Sunday. The Canadians lost that affair 2-1 and following Thursday’s beating from France, Canada is on its way home after it plays Tuesday’s final group match against Nigeria.

Gaëtane Thiney led the way for France with a brace, one of which is an early candidate for the goal of the tournament. She opened the scoring in the 24th minute from a potentially offside position but followed that up with a gorgeous strike in the 60th minute. Thiney struck her second goal from 25 yards out and the knuckling shot that beat goalkeeper Erin McLeod struck the inside of the post and went into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Canada was already shocked then, but Camille Abily made it worse in the 66th minute when she rose above everyone to head in a corner kick from Sandrine Soubeyrand. At 3-0, the result was now obvious.

Second half substitute Elodie Thomis ensured an absolute blowout in the 83rd minute when she calmly finished a tap-in chance to make it 4-0. Louisa Necib, who was creative and dangerous all evening, served a great ball over the top that split Canadian center backs Emily Zurrer and Candace Chapman.

Canada failed to muster any serious threats and did not produce a single shot on goal. The champions of 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying will now have to focus on the 2012 Olympics in London and, perhaps even more importantly, the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which will take place on home soil.

Germany 1-0 Nigeria

Elsewhere, Nigeria put up surprisingly stiff challenge against host Germany but managed only one shot on goal. Inefficiency in the final third cost the African champions, who lost 1-0 on a 54th minute goal from German midfielder Simone Laudehr.

Celia Okoyino da Mbabi served a free kick into the box from the left side of the 18 that substitute Inka Grings flicked on and Precious Dede saved. The rebound fell to Alexandra Popp, whose blocked shot came to Laudehr for the finish.

The goal was all Germany would need to ensure a group stage exit for Nigeria and Canada, but the Nigerians showed how much they have improved since a historically bad 8-0 loss in a friendly against Germany in November.

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