Simpson provides winner for Scotland

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Rhona Simpson converted a 60th-minute penalty corner to give Scotland a dramatic 1-0 win against China last night in Harare in the Women's World Cup Qualifier to claim the last semi final place and automatic qualification for next year's World Cup in Utrecht.

England will play Russia tomorrow in the 5-8th places crossover games and Ireland play China, the winners of those matches filling the last two places in next year's World Cup. In the semi-finals, South Africa play Scotland and New Zealand take on India.

In a bruising and dour battle a draw, which would have seen China through to the semi-finals, looked inevitable until Simpson broke the deadlock. Scotland's third penalty corner, which brought strong Chinese protests resulting in the sending off of Shu Zen-yu, was slipped to Sue MacDonald whose shot was partially cleared for Simpson to score.

Sarah Kelleher, Slough's midfield player, who has had a moderate tournament so far, was the toast of Ireland last night following their unexpected 3-2 win against Japan. Ireland went two goals down in the opening 14 minutes, but their miraculous recovery started eight minutes into the second half after a penetrating run down the right by Kelleher ended with Lynsey McVicker scoring.

Although reduced to 10 players with the suspension of Mary Logue, the Irish forced a penalty corner in the 43rd minute from which Arlene Thompson equalised. With just seven minutes remaining at another penalty corner the ball was switched by Thompson to Kelleher who struck for the winning goal.

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS (Harare): Pool A: Ireland 3 Japan 2. Final Pool A standings: 1 South Africa (P5, Pts13) 2 India (5-9); 3 England (5-9); 4 Ireland (5-4); 5 Japan (5-4); 6 Canada (5-2). Pool B: Spain 4 Zimbabwe 0; New Zealand 5 Russia 2; Scotland 1 China 0. Final Pool B standings: 1 New Zealand (P5, Pts11); 2 Scotland (5-10); 3 China (5-8); 4 Russia (5-7) 5 Spain (5-5); 6 Zimbabwe (5-0).

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