The United States women’s soccer team clinched the top spot in Group G after Abby Wambach’s 25th minute goal gave it a 1-0 win over North Korea and a perfect record in three group-play matches.
The three-time gold medal winners finished with the maximum nine points, having also beaten France and Colombia, and will play New Zealand in Friday’s quarterfinals at 6:30 a.m.
The U.S. goal came when former Cal star Alex Morgan brought down a long ball deep in North Korea’s territory from Carli Lloyd, controlled it in traffic and slipped a smart pass to Wambach who buried it into the back of the net.
The North Koreans were reduced to 10 players in the 81st minute when Choe Mi Gyong was sent off for a second yellow card following a reckless challenge on Lauren Cheney.
Pia Sundhage’s American team, which had already clinched a place in the last eight, were rarely caused problems by a hard-working, but tactically inefficient North Korean team, which did not advance to the quarterfinals.