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France rolls to 4-0 win over Canada

Jun 30, 2011 - 9:15 PM Bochum, Germany (Sports Network) - France had to wait until a few hours after its win over Canada on Thursday to celebrate its first-ever appearance in the knockout stage of the Women's World Cup.

Gaetane Thiney scored twice and Camille Abily and Elodie Thomis also scored as France rolled to a 4-0 win over Canada in Group A at Ruhrstadion.

When Germany edged Nigeria, 1-0, later Thursday, it sealed a quarterfinal spot for the French in just their second World Cup appearance.

France's only other appearance in the World Cup was 2003 when it failed to get out of the group stage. But with a 1-0 win over Nigeria in its first match and the impressive win over Canada, a knockout berth is secured.

"I said after the first match that we had three points and nobody can take them away from us," said France coach Bruno Bini, "well now we have six points and nobody can take those away from us either."

France leads the group on goal differential over Germany and will finish first with a win or draw when the teams clash in their group finale Tuesday. Canada and Nigeria were both eliminated.

After an uneventful opening 20 minutes, France took control of the game after Thiney scored the opening goal.

Canadian Sophie Schmidt lost the ball just outside her own penalty area, and France playmaker Louisa Necib quickly drove toward goal and sent a pass into the penalty area to Elise Bussaglia.

Bussaglia tried to shoot through traffic and it deflected off a Canada player and to the left, where Thiney stayed onside and looped a header from eight yards over goalie Erin McLeod in the 24th minute.

"That mistake shook our confidence. We made many mistakes after that while the French team didn't make a single mistake. They played the perfect game," said Canada coach Carolina Morace.

Thiney's goal turned Canada's defense into Swiss cheese for next 10 minutes as the French unleashed a number of quality shots at Canada's goal.

Necib forced a fantastic save from McLeod in the 31st minute with a drive from well outside the box, as the Canada goalie dove to push the ball away from the upper corner.

Marie-Laure Delie, who scored in France's win over Nigeria, headed high in the 32nd and followed with another shot over the bar in the 34th.

McLeod had to push a corner from Necib out of danger in the 45th as the French were dangerous again before half and ended the first 45 minutes with 11 shots, compared to just two for Canada.

Delie opened the second half with another good chance for France, while Canada wasted another of its few chances when Kaylyn Kyle fired high in the 57th. Minutes later, France took a two-goal lead and Canada's Cup was all but over.

Delie pressured Wendie Renard just outside her own area, and the Canadian sent a poor clearance directly to Thiney. She settled the ball with a perfect first touch and hit a 25-yard shot off the inside of the right post in the 60th for her second goal.

France sealed the victory less than 10 minutes later when Sandrine Soubeyrand drove a corner kick from the right to the middle of the box, where an unmarked Abily powered a header from 10 yards into the left side.

The French added another goal in the final 10 minutes when Necib's long pass put Thomis behind Canada's defense, and she rounded McLeod with one touch and then scored into an empty net.

Canada wraps up group play Tuesday against Nigeria.