VANCOUVER: Brazil advanced to the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Spain as France fell 2-0 to Colombia in the first upset of the tournament.
France’s defeat threw Group F wide open as rivals England rekindled their campaign with a 2-1 win over Mexico in Moncton.
Andressa Alves got Brazil’s only goal in Montreal as they joined defending champions Japan in the knockout round with one game to spare.
Brazil’s Marta failed to add to her record World Cup tally of 15 goals, as the star of the night was Alves, who scored two minutes before the break to keep the 2007 runners-up unbeaten.
“We didn’t score big but we won the game. It’s good for us to know we’re in the next round,” said Brazil coach Vadao whose side is top of Group E with six points from two games.
Costa Rica are second in Group E with two points after snatching a 2-2 draw with South Korea, and next play Brazil on Wednesday.
Spain and South Korea both have one point.
In Moncton, Lady Andrade and Catalina Usme lifted Colombia to an historic 2-0 win against France, among the tournament favorites.
Third-ranked France had been bidding to seal their last 16 berth after a 1-0 win over England, but must now wait until the final game in a tight Group F.
Colombia, ranked 28, moved top with four points from two games, with France on three along with England who beat Mexico 2-1 on Saturday.
The Mexicans have one point.
“Now we have to explode Mexico,” said France striker Gaetane Thiney of their final group game.
“We have to pump up the volume and leave everything out there. It’s a make or break World Cup tie.”