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France 1 (Delie 56) Nigeria 0
att: 25,475; at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim
France emerged victorious from the opening game of the FIFA Women's World Cup with a hard earned win against Nigeria in Sinsheim.
France carried the game towards their opponents in the early stages and Nigeria goalkeeper Precious Dede was called into action when she was forced to save a long distance effort from Elise Bussaglia.
The Nigerian defence were forced to defend a series of corners during the first half, sometimes not too convincingly, but they held on as Les Bleus were unable to fashion any clear cut opportunities.
Nigeria themselves also won a number of corners but it was the same story as France stood firm under any pressure. France continued to have the better of things but chances were few, the best coming as a good move gave Camille Abily a chance on the edge of the area but she was not quick enough getting her shot away and Ebere Orji was able to block her effort.
The deadlock was broken eleven minutes after the restart as a cross from the right by substitute Eugenie Le Sommer was touched on by Abily for an unmarked Marie-Laure Delie to control before tucking the ball home from close range.
The heat began to take its toll and the pace of the match slowed drastically as a result. Nigeria did pass up an opportunity when Sarah Michael headed wide from a Rita Chikwelu corner but there were few other scares for France as they closed the game out for an important win.
A win on Thursday against Canada will almost certainly clinch France's place in the quarter finals whilst Nigeria face the difficult task of picking up a result against hosts Germany.
France: Berangere Sapowicz, Wendie Renard (sub Laure Lepailleur 69mins), Sonia Bompastor, Laura Georges, Ophelie Meilleroux, Sandrine Soubeyrand (sub Eugenie Le Sommer 45mins), Gaetane Thiney (sub Elodie Thomis 57mins), Louisa Necib, Elise Bussaglia, Camille Abily, Marie-Laure Delie.
Nigeria: Precious Dede, Faith Ikidi (sub Josephine Chukwunonye 34mins), Osinachi Ohale, Perpetua Nkwocha, Onome Ebi, Helen Ukaonu, Stella Mbachu, Ebere Orji (sub Uchechi Sunday 78mins), Desire Oparanozie (sub Sarah Michael 66mins), Rita Chikwelu, Glory Iroka.
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