MONTREAL (Reuters) - A highly impressive French side out thought and out played South Korea in their Women’s World Cup second round game on Sunday, winning 3-0 to set up a quarter-final clash of titans with top-ranked Germany.
France, perhaps the most technically skilled side at the World Cup, were a blur of clever passes, runs, flicks and shots and proved far too strong for a young South Korea team making their first appearance in the knockout round.
All the French starters were drawn from top club sides Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain and they pressed from the start, scoring twice in the first eight minutes.
South Korean coach Yoon Deok-yeo said his side simply had not been able to deal with the onslaught.
“Their speed was incredible ... and our defenders had trouble coping with that,” he said.
The French side, ranked third in the world, will play the physically imposing Germans in Montreal on Friday.
Coach Philippe Bergeroo said he was not upset that two such strong teams were meeting as early as the quarter-final.
“They are certainly the best nation in the world. We’ll play with all the determination and respect that is required,” he said.
France had scored three times in the first 13 minutes in their previous game against Mexico and started with attacking runs down both wings.
Marie Laure Delie opened the scoring in the fourth minute, ending a fast-flowing attack with a cleverly-placed shot that trickled over the line.
Four minutes later Elodie Thomis fired home after racing into the box to pick up a pass from Olympique Lyonnais team mate Eugenie Le Sommer, and South Korea were doomed.
“We have the advantage of playing together and some things come automatically ... and that helps us,” said player of the match Amandine Henry, who also plays for the Lyon side.
Le Sommer herself drove into the area in the 48th minute to set up an easy third goal for Delie.
France, whose best World Cup performance was a fourth place in 2011, will likely have a tougher game against a German side that crushed fifth-ranked Sweden 4-1 in their second round meeting on Saturday and have scored 19 goals so far.
Only 15,518 spectators made their way to the enormous Olympic Stadium in Montreal, where fans have proven largely indifferent to the tournament.
Reporting by David Ljunggren. editing by Gene Cherry