Having already booked their place in the Round of 16, Germany were out to clinch top spot in Group B. They did so in formidable fashion against a South Africa side that struggled to keep up.
South Africa 0-4 Germany
(Leupolz 15', Däbritz 29', Popp 40', Magull 58')
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and her team have hit top gear at the perfect time. Germany disposed of South Africa in emphatic fashion in their final Group B game to secure top spot and leave their confidence sky high.
"You saw that we can play football today," captain Alexandra Popp told broadcaster ARD afterwards. "It didn't need to be the way it was in the first two games."
First it was Melanie Leupolz who took advantage of slack defending to head home from a corner. Sara Däbritz swept home a second after Andile Dlamini spilled a shot into her path before Popp added a strong header of her own before the break as Germany's dominance in the air continued.
Dlamini improved in the second half and made two impressive stops to keep Gemany at bay, but one rebound fell fortunately for Lina Magull to tap home from close range.
Germany might have had six were it not for two offside flags, and South Africa might have had one of their own were it not for poor composure in key moments. Ultimately, Germany deserved their win and arrive in the knockout rounds in the best form possible.
Who they face will be made clear on Thursday, once all of the group games are over and it's clear which best third-placed side will be Germany's opposition in France.
As it happened:
Germany get the win they deserved, and might have won by more had their timing in the second half been sharper. The contest had long been ended by that stage though, and South Africa deserve credit for battling back even after conceding three goals. Germany will advance into the knockout rounds as the winners of Group B.
90+4' There will be four minutes of added time. Germany are comfortably winding down time here. South Africa are trying to get the most out of their final minutes at the 2019 World Cup.
86' South Africa really should have scored one here. Mulaudzi has a nice turn and shot on the goal. If it's on target, it's probably in.
84' South Africa are trying to force a chance, but Germany are still paying attention at the back. Gwinn then scores, but again the flag goes up for offside. Germany could have had six.
74' SAVE! I see you that Dlamini save and I raise you an Almuth Schult save! South Africa burst through, out of the blue, and have a great chance to score but Schult reacts superbly to palm it away. So strong! Brilliant goalkeeping. Soon afterwards, Popp scores a second but there was a late offside flag raised.
72' Janine van Wyk has a go from range, in a rare South African attack, and it dips at the last minute but still lands on top of the goal. Not a bad effort from the captain. At the other end, Dlamini makes an enormous save to deny Däbritz who was unmarked in the box with just the keeper to beat. Brilliant to see Dlamini come back and play so well in the second half.
68' Germany are in control mode now. Germany bring on Linda Dallmann and Lea Schüller in the hope they too might get on the scoresheet. Popp is still on though. Magull nearly added her second, Germany's fifth but a block was made just in time. Germany have grown into this tournament and have been a better team with each game played.
58' GOAL! 4-0 Germany (Magull) Another set-piece, another goal for Germany. Hegering sends a superb diving header goalwards, Dlamini makes an excellent reflex save to push it onto the post but the rebound falls kindly fall for Magull who taps home.
55' SAVE! Dlamini needed that! Leupolz wins another header from another corner, but this time Dlamini reacts brilliantly top tip it over the bar. Germany still look dangerous, and that's partly because they're having a lot of joy in the air.
50' Three changes at the break. South Africa bring on two strikers (Mulaudzi and Kgatlana), while Germany make a straight swap bringing off Schweers for Simon. The game though, is much the same. Germany look more like scoring, while South Africa are often late to the tackle. Huth just got clattered in the box, although the ball was taken first. Ouch. Magull now needs treatment after another tackle, but this one has resulted in a free kick.
46' Germany get us restarted.
Germany pressed early and quickly got their reward from a set-piece. Once the first goal went in, Germany's dominance grew and two more were added to a scoreline that ultimately represents an extremely strong first half from Germany and a somewhat disappointing first half from South Africa. Top spot will be Germany's. It's just a question of by how many, now.
43' If you listen closely enough, you can hear Martina Voss-Tecklenburg shouting instructions to her players. She just asked for central defender to look at the left back and the left wing, as they were open. Germany can - and have - spread it quickly.
40' GOAL! 3-0 Germany (Popp) This is getting a bit messy for South Africa. Gwinn with a superb cross from the right, Popp rises above Ramalepe and powers a header past Dlamini. Germany are hitting top gear now, but South Africa have also made it easy for them to do so.
36' CHANCES! Huth, inside the box, misses a low cross from the left and then Magull, after a sweet dummy, somehow manages to curl over with just Dlamini at her mercy. Germany have the chance to run up a score here, if they take their chances. Dlamini takes some treatment, but she looks set to continue.
29' GOAL! 2-0 Germany (Däbritz) Well, Dlamini won't want to watch this one back. Germany break down the left, Schweers hits the cross too early and so it escapes Bühl but Dlamini comes out anyway to save it, but instead pushes it straight into the path of Däbritz who sweeps it into the empty net. Too easy for Germany.
26' South Africa are doing a good job in the tackling department, but are lacking inspiration in attack. Then Hegering makes a mistake at the back, is forced into the pass to Schult that the keeper has to clear and in a hurry. Those are the kind of moments that let Spain in, and that South Africa would love to see more of. Without them, it's hard to see a way back into this one for South Africa.
17' CHANCE! Germany should be two up. A shot from distance is palmed by Dlamini and Popp just has to put it in from close range and with the goal gaping, but the bouncing ball bounces higher than she expects and Popp blazes over. She won't want to see that again.
15' GOAL! 1-0 Germany (Leupolz) Well that was simple. A corner from the left and Melanie Leupolz rises unmarked to head in from close range. Sometimes, football is easy you know. Germany now have something to show for their strong start.
13' South Africa were pretty physical in their first two games and the same is true here. A couple of big challenges go in, and they seem to have blunted Germany a bit. The sun is also fairly bright in Montpellier.
7' CHANCE! Germany do the hard work and suddenly Däbritz has space outside the box with an overlapping teammate on the right, but instead of feeding her she goes it alone and curls over. Bad decision there, but an encouraging start from Germany.
3' CHANCE! Germany have pressed hard and early here. A whipped free kick into the box meets Popp and a teammate but the shot is tame and it's easy for Dlamini. That should have probably been a goal given the space Germany were afforded.
1' Off we go! Germany in all white kit, South Africa in yellow shirts and green shorts.
— A rousing version of the anthems and with the sun shining here in Montpellier, we are all set to go.
— TEAMS! Germany make three changes, dropping Hendrich, Goeßling and Oberdorf for Magull, Leupolz and Bühl, who was particularly impressive off the bench last time. Germany need just a draw to make sure they finish top, which is the key now.
Germany XI: Schult – Schweers, Hegering, Doorsoun, Gwinn – Däbritz, Magull, Leupolz, Huth - Popp, Bühl
South Africa XI: Dlamini – Ramalepe, Van Wyk, Matlou, Vilakazi – Ndimeni, Makhabeane, Jane, Biyana, Mthandi – Fulutudilu
One to watch: Oberdorf
Her coach says she's "fantastic," and Lena Oberdorf has made made her mark at the World Cup while taking time out from school. With Germany through to round of 16, she could enhance her reputation against South Africa. Click here to read the full feature on the 17-year-old student.
Germany are still unbeaten under head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, winning six out of a possible seven games thanks to the quick thinking of Sara Däbritz in the 1-0 win against Spain. "It was a win of wills," said Däbritz, who is set to join Paris-Saint Germain from Bayern Munich in the summer.
South Africa can't claim a spot in the top of Group B, but could still reach the Round of 16 by finishing third, making the game against Germany a must-win match. "They are an opponent who won't gift us three points," said Linda Dallmann. "They play with a lot of passion and will throw everything at us."
Probable line-ups: Germany
Germany XI: Schult – Maier, Hegering, Doorsoun, Schweers – Goeßling, Leupolz – Gwinn, Popp, Huth - Schüller
Probable line-ups: South Africa
Swart – Ramalepe, Van Wyk, Matlou, Holweni – Kgatalana, Makhabeane, Mbane, Biyana, Jane – Fulutudilu
Welcome one and all!
Germany kicked off their Women's World Cup campaign with back-to-back 1-0 wins over China and Spain and are looking to wrap up top spot in Group B when they take on South Africa tonight. DW has all the build-up to the clash in Montpellier, so stay tuned…