Thomis secures France’s passage

Elodie Thomis was again on target as France booked their place in the quarter-finals at London 2012 with a 1-0 win over Colombia.

The defeat was the South Americans’ third in as many matches and sends them heading for home, although they earned credit for rallying in the second half after a desperately one-sided opening 45 minutes.

France went into the match knowing that only a win would guarantee them a place in the next round, and Bruno Bini’s team selection reflected this, with Elodie Thomis in from the start.

The flying winger had been Les Bleues’ super-sub with a goal and two assists against Korea DPR, and after just two minutes she very nearly continued at St James’s Park where she had left off at Hampden Park.

Again, her pace proved too much for the opposition defence to handle, but rather than shoot after bursting clean through she opted instead to unselfishly square the ball for a seemingly certain goal by Gaetane Thiney.

Yet although the Juvisy star could and should have side-footed first time into the unguarded net, she took an unnecessary touch and allowed Natalia Gaitan to get back and make a saving sliding challenge.

No wonder, then, that Thomis took the direct route to goal the next time she was played in, slotting beyond goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda at her near post after being played through by Louisa Necib.

That was after five minutes, and both Necib and Thomis herself rattled the woodwork in the minutes that followed as France threatened to run riot. That they didn’t was purely down to the often heroic efforts of the outstanding Sepulveda.

Time and again the Colombia 'keeper pulled off miraculous saves to keep the score at 1-0, and in doing so gave Colombia a chance of salvaging a point in a far more evenly-contested second half.

Indeed, a late defensive mix-up nearly handed an equaliser to Natalia Ariza, but the ball was scrambled wide and the spoils ultimately went to the French.