All FIFA Women’s World Cup teams have each played a game. Now, we head into match-week two of the group stages where hosts, France, take on Norway in Nice, while South Korea faces Nigeria in Grenoble.
A Battle for Group A Leader
France and Norway were the first two teams to assert their colossal presence in this World Cup.
France vs. South Korea Recap
Over 45,000 spectators watched France steamroll South Korea 4-0 in Parc des Princes in Paris during the opening match of the tournament.
Eugenie Le Sommer was the first player to get the ball in the back of the net in the competition. In the ninth minute, captain Amandine Henry delivered a firm ground-pass from the right flank into the box. Consequently, Le Sommer’s forward instincts flared up striking the ball as it came leaving no chance for South Korea’s keeper, Kim Min-Jeong.
France’s 6-foot-2-inch center back, Wendie Renard, was a nightmare in offensive corners. Renard assisted Kadidiatou Diani’s incredible disallowed volley goal in the 26th minute. Nevertheless, Renard responded with two back-to-back headed corner goals before the half extending the lead 3-0. Both corners were outswingers from opposite sides via attacking midfielder, Gaetane Thiney, and left-back, Amel Majri.
In the second half, France kept a choke-hold on South Korea only letting them get past its backline once resulting in a wide attempt.
Henry closed the game with a magnificent solo effort where she cut inside and with lots of ease and space placed it in the side-netting.
The final score was 4-0.
Norway vs. Nigeria Recap
Both Norway and Nigeria suffered woes during the year 2017.
Norway suffered three losses and remained scoreless in its UEFA Women’s Euro Championship group stage. In other words, the most disappointing result in a major competition.
In the other hand, Nigeria’s federation failed to organize a single game for them during that year.
Those two setbacks did not stop Norway nor Nigeria from reaching the Women’s World Cup. But the European side was clearly better prepared.
The Grasshoppers netted their first goal early in the 16th minute from a short corner. Caroline Graham Hansen dribbled in between Ngozi Okobi and the deadline and handed the ball to 24-year-old, Guro Reiten, who put it past Tochukwu Oluehi, Nigeria’s keeper, with the help of a slight deflection.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 8, 2019
Reiten who was just signed by FA Women’s Super League side, Chelsea, was not done yet. The young Grasshopper intersected a pass in Nigeria’s back line and threaded a perfectly weighted pass through the remaining two Nigerian defenders. The pass found Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland who launched a point-blank rocket over Oluehi.
Norway sealed the game with an own goal scored by Nigeria’s right-back, Osinachi Ohale.
Going Into Match-week 2
We saw great performances from France and Norway in the first match-week. Both teams controlled the game from start to the final whistle. Now, it’s time to see weaknesses.
France will keep the field open in attack to create space as it did against South Korea. Norway’s solid defensive unite will fight it and most likely respond with well-paced counterattacks.
In the opposite match-up, South Korea and Nigeria will hope to win by a large margin to make up for their goal differential situation. A tie might be the end for both these teams. It is a win at all cost situation.
France vs. Norway starts Wednesday, June 12 at 3:00 p.m. ET and will be transmitted in FOX.
Nigeria vs. South Korea starts Wednesday, June 12 at 9:00 a.m. ET and will be transmitted in FS1.