Penalties take France through in Montreal
France needed penalties to book a semi-final date with Germany after a tense 0-0 draw against Korea Republic at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Claire Lavogez stroked home the decisive kick after Solene Durand had saved a penalty during normal time, with Gilles Eyquem's side deserving of their victory - however narrow it was.
Although this match united the European and Asian champions, there was no denying that France had been considerably more impressive during the group phase - and this form continued during some one-sided early exchanges. Les Bleuettes very nearly took the lead inside 35 seconds, in fact, with Lavogez crossing from the right and Mylaine Tarrieu helping the ball on for Ouleymata Sarr to volley just wide of the right-hand post.
Lavogez was one of several French stars recalled to the Eyquem's line-up having been rested for the team's final group game, and the creative midfielder certainly looked fresh as she placed herself at the heart of seemingly every attack. On 15 minutes, she produced her first effort on target, but while her 25-yard shot had plenty of power, it was straight enough to allow Min Yukyeong to gather fairly comfortably.
The France No10 remained her team's most potent attacking weapon though, and on 26 minutes she whipped in an audacious free-kick from close to the left touchline, forcing a solid save from the alert Min. But while Lavogez remained a threat, and France continued to dominate possession and territory, Korea Republic's well-organised defence and pace on the counter made them a tough nut to crack.
The Asian champions threatened infrequently in attack, but they were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead in the shape of a penalty just two minutes into the second half. But while there was no disputing the decision, granted after Marine Dafeur had clipped the heels of Lee Geummin, the Taeguk Ladies' celebrations proved to be premature. That's because France keeper Solene Durand pulled off a quite brilliant double save, diving to her right to parry Lee Sodam's initial spot-kick and then springing up to save bravely at the feet of substitute Namgung Yegi from the rebound.
France, though, were unable to seize the initiative handed to them by Durand and struggled to create any openings during a second half otherwise devoid of chances. Extra time looked inevitable long before the referee signalled the end of 90 minutes, although the additional 30 provided a lot more excitement than the 45 that had preceded them. France were resurgent in the first half but Clarisse Le Bihan endured something of a nightmare, missing a string of excellent chances, whether it was by heading weakly or blazing over wildly.
But Korea Republic also wasted a golden opportunity in the second period of extra time, with Choe Yuri measuring a beautiful pass in behind the defence only for captain Jang Selgi to fire over. That left penalties to decide the outcome and after Jang Selgi and Namgung Yegi had missed for the South Koreans, Lavogez stepped up to seal victory with the coolest of strikes.
Live Your Goals player of the match: Claire Lavogez (FRA)