Germany defeated Nigeria 3-0 in the first game of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup knockout round on Saturday.
Germany Stays Dominant
Die Nationalelf has yet to concede a goal this tournament. After a slow start in the group stage, Germany has now scored seven goals in their last two games. In the final group stage game against South Africa, the German women set up in an attack-minded 4-4-2. Winger Giulia Gwinn started at right-back, and pushed up the field often to deliver crosses to striker and captain Alexandra Popp.
They set up the same in today’s game against Nigeria. Gwinn again was deployed at right back, with Popp and young forward Lea Schuller the two starting strikers. Despite being the joint top-scorer in qualifying, this was Schuller’s first start of the tournament.
Germany’s first goal came via a corner, when midfielder Lina Magull crossed to Popp. She was unmarked, and coolly headed the ball into the net in the 20th minute.
Die Nationalelf struck again just seven minutes later, when they were awarded a penalty after a studs-up tackle in the box by a Nigerian defender. Sara Dabritz slotted it home, scoring in her third straight game.
Lea Schuller made the game 3-0 in the 82nd minute when she capitalized on a Nigerian lack of concentration. A Nigerian defender attempted to pass it backwards at the top of her own box. Instead, the ball landed at Schuller’s feet, and she hit it first-time past keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.
Germany registered 13 shots and 13 corners, which marks the most corners in any game of this World Cup so far.
Nigeria has had incredible continental success, winning nine of 11 African Women Cup of Nations. They have not been able to translate this success to the World Cup, though. This was the first time the Super Falcons have qualified for the knockout stage since 1999.
As the final third-place team to qualify, they were destined for a tough match-up. Despite deploying a 4-3-3 formation during group stage games, Nigeria set up in a 4-4-2 against Germany for a greater defensive presence.
The Super Falcons only had 31% possession, and struggled for chances. Nigeria only had two shots on target, compared to Germany’s four. Also, they only completed 54% of their passes,which pales in comparison to Germany’s 80% completion rate.
Nigeria were also without their top (and only) goal-scorer this tournament. Winger Asisat Oshoala unexpectedly missed the game due to injury.
Germany now faces the winner of Sweden-Canada in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday, June 29.
Rennes | Saturday | 29 June | 18:30
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 22, 2019