Delphine Cascarino scored a superb winner to lift France to a 1-0 win and send holders Germany out of the tournament in a match of fine margins in Port Moresby on Friday.
The match, played in cooler evening temperatures, was a fast-paced, high-quality contest that could have gone either way. And though there were numerous chances at either end, France had goalkeeper Mylene Chavas to thanks for several impressive saves.
Cascarino netted one of the goals of the tournament on 16 minutes. The multi-talented wide midfielder exchanged passes from a short corner with Louise Fleury, before dancing around one defender and rifling an unstoppable effort into the goal from an acute angle.
France always looked highly dangerous going forward, thanks in part to the searing pace of Sakina Karchaoui down the left and the artistry of Cascarino on the right.
Germany could easily have levelled before half-time though but for two superb saves to deny the three-time champions. Chavas firstly tipped an Anna Gerhardt long-range effort on to the crossbar, before denying Saskia Matheis with a one-on-one block.
France attacker Maelle Garbino then spurned a great chance with the last kick of the half, shooting way too early as she bore down on an exposed Carina Schluete.
Les Bleuettes had another golden opportunity to double their lead after the break, but Clara Mateo was unable to find the target with only the goalkeeper to beat, and Garbino’s flicked effort on the follow up struck a defender.
Chavas then tipped a swerving Dina Orschmann effort around the post, while at the other end Marie-Charlotte Leger clipped the crossbar with a chipped effort.
France’s backline remained impenetrable under a late onslaught and their reward is a semi-final meeting against Japan.
Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Mylene Chavas (France)