The second round of World Cup group matches began overnight, with a couple of the pre-tournament favourites recording important wins.

 

NIGERIA v KOREA REPUBLIC

Nigeria kept their hopes of advancing to the Round of 16 alive by defeating Korea Republic 2-0 in Grenoble. An own goal sent the Super Falcons on their way, before Asisat Oshoala’s second half goal secured the victory.

The Koreans were the better side early on, but couldn’t capitalise. In the 29th minute, Nigeria profited from a defensive mixup to take the lead as Korean defender Kim Do-yeon turned the ball into her own net.

Korea Republic also started the second half well, and thought they had equalised in the 59th minute when Lee Guem-min tucked the ball away, however the goal was ruled out for offside.

The Super Falcons held out, and struck the knockout blow with 15 minutes remaining. Oshoala did brilliantly, holding off a defender, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting the ball home from an acute angle.

The result meant Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie became the youngest player to keep a clean sheet for a full World Cup game. For the Koreans, they stay bottom of Group A, and need a series of favourable results in the other groups if they are to qualify for the Round of 16.

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Nigeria 2 (Kim Do-yeon og 29’, Oshoala 75’)

Korea Republic 0

 

GERMANY v SPAIN

After losing Dzsenifer Marozsan for the rest of the tournament, there was good news for the Germans as they defeated Spain 1-0 in Valenciennes. Sara Daebritz’s goal just before the interval separated the sides, and Germany now has two wins from two games.

Rain fell heavily in the opening exchanges, and Spain took it to their opponents. In the sixth minute, Nahikari Garcia was played behind the defence, only to be denied by a wonderful tackle from Sara Doorsun.

The rain would stop, but the Spanish pressure didn’t, and Garcia had another great chance on 14 minutes, shooting wide when presented with a one on one chance.

These missed opportunities would come back to haunt Spain. Germany worked their way back into the contest, taking the lead as halftime approached. When Alexandra Popp’s header was saved, Sara Daebritz reacted quickest, flinging herself at the loose ball to put her side in front.

The Spanish re-gathered themselves, and Garcia had another great chance early in the second half, heading wide from close range.

That was Spain’s last clear cut chance though despite plenty of possession, and save for a late spell in stoppage time, Germany were reasonably comfortable for the rest of the game.

The Germans could even have doubled their lead when Daebritz headed at the goalkeeper with 15 minutes remaining, while an energetic performance from half time substitute Klara Buhl troubled the Spanish defence.

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Germany now top Group B and look set for the Round of 16. Spain are still in a good position despite the loss, and will have their destiny in their own hands when they face China on Monday (local time).

Germany 1 (Daebritz 42’)

Spain 0

 

FRANCE v NORWAY

The hosts march on, maintaining their place at the top of Group A with a 2-1 victory over Norway in Nice. After Valerie Gauvin’s opener was cancelled out by an own goal from Wendie Renard, Eugenie Le Sommer converted from the spot in the 72nd minute to give France the win.

Neither team was prepared to sit back in the first half, but despite close calls at either end, the game was scoreless heading into the interval. Kadidiatou Diani was the main threat for the hosts, while Isabell Herlovsen and Guro Reiten put in impressive performances for Norway.

The action on the field intensified almost as soon as play resumed following halftime. France struck the first blow, Gauvin finishing from six yards after beating the defence to Amel Majri’s cross.

However, French joy was short lived. Norway broke down the left side in the 54th minute, and although Hervolsen’s low cross into the middle was nowhere near an attacker, Renard sidefooted the ball into her own goal to level the scores.

The game’s decisive (and most controversial) moment came in the 70th minute. Norway’s Ingrid Engen appeared to beat Marion Torrent to the ball in the penalty area, but caught the French player with her boot. A lengthy VAR review followed and France were awarded a penalty. Le Sommer kept her cool, dispatching the spot kick into the bottom corner to put the hosts 2-1 up.

This seemed to take the wind out of Norway’s sails, and France were able to see the game out.

The hosts will be aiming to end the group stage with a perfect record when they face Nigeria on Monday (local time). Norway are still in a strong position, and they will meet Korea Republic.

France 2 (Gauvin 46’, Le Sommer 72’)

Norway 1 (Renard og 54’)