Puerto Rico beat China to seal a place in the WBSC Women's Softball World Cup Finals ©WBSC

Puerto Rico and The Netherlands earned places in next year's World Baseball Softball Confederation Women's Softball World Cup Finals, with China missing out despite topping the Group B round-robin in Valencia.

China faced Puerto Rico in the playoffs with a place in next year's Finals in Italy at stake, after both had finished first and second respectively in the round-robin.

The round-robin match between the sides had been won 2-0 by China, and they scored first when Jiaqi Li got home after an error on first base.

Aleimalee Lopez replied in the second inning to level the match for world number four-ranked Puerto Rico, and they got the run they needed for victory in the fifth from Aleshia Ocasio.

China had a second opportunity to reach the Finals in a repechage match against The Netherlands, who had earlier beaten Cuba 2-1 through runs from Britt Vonk and Brenda Beers in the third inning.

The Dutch placed fourth in the round-robin, but followed their win against Cuba with a 2-0 victory against China to seal a place in the Finals.

Beers and Vonk scored in the first inning after Jessie van Aalst hit down the left field, and efficient pitching from van Aalst and Lisa Hop helped The Netherlands to secure the win.

Puerto Rico and The Netherlands join hosts Italy as well as the United States and Australia from Group A in sealing places in the Finals.

A further two places are available through Group C along with one wildcard entry.

Olympic champions Japan started their Group C campaign with a comprehensive 16-2 victory against New Zealand at the Campo Comunale da Softball in Castions di Strada.

Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists Canada began with a 5-0 victory against the Philippines, and hosts Italy overcame Venezuela 4-2 in the other Group C opener.

Further placement matches are scheduled for the next three days, followed by playoffs on Wednesday (July 26).