Two-time champions Germany have crashed out of the Women’s World Cup after drawing 1-1 with South Korea in their final Group H match in Brisbane.

Cho So-hyun had put South Korea in front in the sixth minute before Germany captain Alexandra Popp equalised with a 42nd-minute header.

But Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s world number two side were unable to add to that, with Popp going closest with a header against the crossbar on the hour mark.

And with Morocco beating Colombia 1-0 in the pool’s other game, leaving them both with six points, the Germans, on four, were condemned to third place and failed to make the knockout rounds of the competition for the first time in their history.

The 2003 and 2007 World Cup winners, who started their campaign at this edition by thrashing Morocco 6-0 before a shock 2-1 loss to Colombia, become the third top-10 ranked team to be eliminated at the group stage, after Canada and Brazil.

South Korea, managed by Englishman Colin Bell, also bow out with this having been the first point of their campaign.

There was an early warning for Germany when 16-year-old Casey Phair – who became the competition’s youngest ever player in the group’s opening round of matches – hit a shot in the third minute that Merle Frohms did well to turn against a post.

Three minutes later, another attack from Bell’s team saw them grab the lead as Lee Young-ju played a fine through-ball and Cho slotted past Frohms.

Klara Buhl sent two efforts off-target soon after, but Germany struggled to threaten much beyond that until Popp drew things level just before the break, connecting with Svenja Huth’s cross for her fourth goal of the tournament, moving level with Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa as top-scorer.

Popp thought she had headed her side in front in the 57th minute, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside, and a few moments on from that she sent another header against the bar.

Frohms was then called upon to push away a Ji So-yun corner, before Popp headed at Kim as Germany’s frustration continued.

A lengthy period of added time at the end, which included a stoppage when Cho was injured and carried off on stretcher, and lasted more than 15 minutes, included Germany substitute Sydney Lohmann putting strikes wide and over as Tecklenburg’s side tried in vain to rescue themselves from making unwanted history.

Jamaica’s assistant coach Xavier Gilbert is not denying that France will pose a challenge for his Reggae Girlz outfit to start their Fifa Women’s World Cup campaign. But he is hopeful that they will be able to overcome the daunting task and secure their first ever point at the global showpiece.

Gilbert’s cautious optimism came, as he was heartened by the Girlz lively training session, which he believes is a good indicator of the team’s mental and physical readiness ahead of Sunday’s opening Group F fixture against the fifth-ranked French team.

Well aware that France will be no pushovers, Gilbert, an assistant to Head coach Lorne Donaldson, is backing the 43rd-ranked Girlz to give their more illustrious opponents a run for their money when they take the field at the Sydney Football Stadium.  

“We have been analyzing the French team from before they got here and their (0-1) loss to Australia kind of confirmed some of the things that we already knew. They really don’t change their style of play; they kept pressing and the Australian faced them front on. But that was a part of their preparation, so we still have to be mindful of how they attack and how they defend, and we just have to execute our game plan,” Gilbert said.

“Nothing is wrong with dreaming, but I honestly think we really have a good chance of getting something from the game, especially if we play smart and contain them, it will get easier for us. We do have quality players who can match up against them, there is no doubt about that.

 “Psychologically our top striker [Khadija “Bunny” Shaw] is raring to go and they know that she can be a handful, so their efforts to contain her, might leave an opening for others in the attacking front to capitalise and those are some of things we want to exploit,” he added.

With two good sessions now under their belts, including a competitive squad match at the Victoria State Training Centre on Thursday, Gilbert explained that the focus now is to iron out a few finer tactical details to ensure an efficient execution against, France, in particular.

 “The Girlz were buzzing from the other day, and it showed in this session which is a good indication that they are ready and raring to go. The session was pretty much how we can exploit some weak areas in the French tactics and also how to curtail some of their strengths based on how we defend, especially in the wide areas.

“We know they are going to counter press a lot and then try and force us through the middle and they also play a lot in transition. So, this session was pretty much to look at countering some of the things that they have been doing over the last few games and how we anticipate they are going to attack us,” the tactician shared.

He pointed out that the Reggae Girlz 1-0 win over Morocco in their first and only warm-up encounter, also provided good insight where gauging the team was concerned.

“We did our analysis and showed them some clips of the things that we did well because part of that game was to fix some of the things that we want to do against the French team. We did some of that, and even the goal, was as a result of what we did before in terms of our attacking thrust. So, there were a lot of positives that came from that game in terms of how we want to operate going forward,” Gilbert noted.

Finally, Gilbert revealed that all concerns regarding Jody Brown’s knock which she picked up in the Morocco friendly, have been allayed, as the diminutive winger was fully integrated into the team’s session and brought up to speed on tactics.

“She is good, it is just about managing and ensuring that we have a full team, and everybody is available for selection ahead of our first game. But she will be fine, the nature of the injury is nothing to be alarmed about,” Gilbert declared.

After their contest with France, the Girlz will do battle against Panama on July 29 at Perth Rectangular Stadium and then close the group stages against Brazil at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, on August 2.

South Africa claimed their maiden Women's Africa Cup of Nations crown with a 2-1 win over tournament hosts Morocco in Saturday's final.

Hildah Magaia scored twice from close range in the space of eight second-half minutes in Rabat, before Rosella Ayane pulled one back in the 80th minute.

South Africa had finished runners-up on five previous occasions, including the most recent edition in 2018, but they saw out the victory to lift the trophy in front of 52,000 spectators.

First-time finalists Morocco will join South Africa in next year's Women's World Cup, along with beaten semi-finalists Nigeria and Zambia.

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