Nigeria 0 - 1 France: Host wins all three group games, hope remains for Nigeria

Follow live score and updates from the Women's World Cup Group A fixture between Nigeria and France in Rennes.

Wendie Renard of France celebrates after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group A match between Nigeria and France at Roazhon Park on Monday in Rennes, France.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.

I'm Lavanya and I wiill be taking you through the Group A tie between Nigeria and France. It's been a crazy evening so far. We are coming off two polar-opposite matches - a goalless draw between China and Spain and a 4-0 thumping of South Africa by Germany.

I am going to giving you live updates of the game between Nigeria and host France in Rennes. My colleague Dominic will be bringing you all the updates from Korea's tie with Norway. Here's where you can follow that.

 

Follow the action LIVE:

 

It's been a long day and two brilliant games. Norway also advances into the round of 16. I hope you had the time to go over to Dom's end of the field too. For now, that's all for us here at Sportstar. We have games coming up tomorrow so until then, goodbye and goodnight.

France will now wait to see which third-place team it will be facing in the round of 16, while Nigeria will have a few nerve-wracking days as it waits to see if it will be advancing as one of those aforementioned third-place teams.

Chiamaka Nnadozie is devastated and has her teammates consoling her. Nigeria has to take the positives away from the game today and those, there are plenty.

If Nigeria does manage to advance the round of 16, Chikwelu will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

FT NIGERIA 0 - 1 FRANCE


I feel that referee's emotion as she gets the physios off the field. When does this end?

90'+9'
Chikwelu blocks off the run of Geyoro, and the latter goes down in a heap. The former, meanwhile, is shown yellow for her efforts.

90'+7'
Nigeria win a free-kick in the French half. Can it snatch a goal back before the final whistle?

This is not the French team we saw take on Norway a few days ago. The momentum is low and their footwork has been shoddy all through. Nigeria has done well to restrict a team like France with the brilliance it houses to a single-goal lead.

We have 8 minutes added time. Can Nigeria equalise?

90'+1' Oparanozie hands off the armband as she departs with Kanu now entering the fray.

I am listening in to a broadcast of the game and I heard the commentator say "US of A". Does anyone else say USA this way? Please do let me know. This caught me by surprise.

Wendie Renard has luck on her side, that's for sure. She did not have a fun game last time around when France faced Norway, with that own goal. Le Sommer quickly scored, ensuring damage control. And today, this second chance at the penalty. Luck but how long will that continue for the Olympique Lyon defender?
 

STAT: There were six and a half minutes between the penalty being awarded initially and the second spot kick being converted, the BBC points out.

We're getting another look at that retake. The goalkeeper needed to have one foot on the goal line which she did not. Nnadozie is not happy, but rules are rules.



79' Renard converts! 
After that missed shot a few minutes ago, she is relieved as are the 17k+ people here in Rennes.

I have managed to pull even Dominic to my side to watch the drama from the last few minutes and in the meantime, Korea has also scored. Oh what a brilliant couple of minutes this!

Renard again. Second time's the charm?

Oh and will you look at that? It's another penalty! We are going to redo this now. Nnadozie is deemed to have come off her line, and France will have another chance from the penalty spot!

SHE HAS MISSED. IS THAT THE GAME GONE? Renard looking uncharacteristically distracted. And the crowd is devastated.

Wendie Renard to take the penalty shot. Will she? Won't she?

Look at the stands. The crowd has erupted. Ebere has been shown the red card, thanks to this being her second yellow card. Nigeria is shocked.

A penalty review is on. For the sake of the scorecard, I hope we get one. But, facts are as they stand

News from the Korea vs Norway game. Caroline Hansen is out injured.

As it stands Nigeria looks all set to meet Germany in the round of 16.

65'
We've had a shot on target! Majri tries her luck from distance and launches a shot straight into the chest of Nnadozie.

63'
Gauvin, who is on a yellow card, is also withdrawn with Diani the replacement.

62'
Looking for a goal, France brings on Le Sommer who has been a part of eight goals in her last seven Women's World Cup appearances (5 goals, 3 appearances). Cascarino is sacrificed.

Dominic tells me that hosts have never lost their last group stage game in the history of the tournament. Canada is the one nation that's drawn a game. (Thanks OptaJoe and Dom)

Nigeria has been organised today. Discipline but lacking that aggression. They have been in their own half for the very same reason.

In other news, my colleague Dominic is enjoying his game. Norway has scored again and here I am screaming when France misses the post. I feel a mild headache around the horizon. Why isn't Nigeria giving me these opportunities to scream too?

The crowd is having none of this. They're growing increasingly impatient with the goal drought.

53' After the ball bounced around the penalty area, it finally settles at the feet of Cascarino who launches her attempt into the side-netting. Still no goals for France, but the pressure is certainly being applied now.

51' The crowd are starting to turn on the referee after a foul is called in favour of Chikwelu who reached out to collect the ball before the whistle had blown.

Nigeria has been stellar with defense but has not managed to take a shot at the goal yet. Defiance isn't everything. If it wants to round off this brilliant first half, it needs to find a way to sneak a goal.

France has been the better side for most of the match thus far yet head into the dressing room with the score level. In large part that is down to the fact that Henry failed to put the ball in the net despite having had plenty of chances as she was the preferred target from most of France's set-pieces.

She, and the rest of her team-mates, failed to put any of their six shots on target, and will need to do better if they want to win their third consecutive match at this tournament. Nigeria, on the other hand, started well and continue to flash glimpses of its abilities, particularly on the counter.

Also, obviously, the longer it keeps France from being able to score, the more likely it is that they will be able to secure a draw, and a place in the round of 16.
 

HT NIGERIA 0 - 0 FRANCE



45'+1'
Another nasty collision as Gauvin went for an overhead kick that connected with Ohale rather than the ball. The former is shown yellow for dangerous play.

42'
Gauvin goes through the back of Ebi who, by the by, is now joint-top for most Women's World Cup appearances made by a Nigerian player with 13. Free-kick to the Super Falcons.

Gauvin is very visibly frustrated. She has been trying so hard to get past the defenders and the one time it did, it's off target. Our wait continues.

30'
Half an hour into the game and France is boasting an impressive 73.6 per cent of possession thus far. France holding the ball comes as little shock though, considering it averaged the most possession per match at the 2015 Women's World Cup (62.3 per cent).

Back when I was in University, I had a french colleague who despised how gloomy Britain could get. She once exclaimed, "Britain is a country that just has one giant grey cloud over it." That observation has stayed with me and is evidently aging very well.

What a loud crowd! There's a lovely ray of flare of sunlight across the broadcaster camera. This is very aesthetic. My art-loving eye and mind are extremely happy. I spent an entire day editing footage from cloud-covered Manchester and I must tell you, this is a welcome change.

Nigeria is insanely quick when counterattacking. France needs to be careful at this stage.

It's 12.53am here. I am starving. But the heartening part of this is that I realised I was hungry 23 minutes into the game, which is a welcome change. Usually it doesn't take more than 2-3 minutes. Good game, this. The Norway vs Korea game even has a goal. Lovely evening of football. Hunger pangs will be dealt with at halftime.

17' CHANCE! The corner finds Henry in space for a second time, and she hits it squarely first-time... only to see it hit the advertising boards left of goal.

15' CHANCE! Gauvin gets a free header in the box but failed to get above the ball, and lofts it over the crossbar. You'd expect her to do better from there considering her form coming into this tournament.

Wendie Renard will want to forget the horrors of the game against Norway, what with that own goal. Norway will look to redeem itself, scoring without the opponents' help tonight. Let's see how both these lines of thought survive the night.

Nigeria has maintained that the girls are not afraid of this intimidating French line up. If anything, they've lived up to their word. They have held the French girls off for the first 11 minutes beautifully. We don't have a goal yet but it has been a few dozen minutes of very engaging football.



Both these games are important as they will decide how Group A looks at the end of it all.

4'
CHANCE! An early opportunity for Nigeria as an Oparanozie header forced a save from Bouhaddi, but the keeper did rise to the challenge to prevent an early goal.

We're off to a slow start here but apparently the Norwegians have different plans. First goal already in the net! Follow that game with Dominic right here.

1' Referee Melissa Borjas blows her whistle, and this match is underway!

We're reading about and watching the women playing the game, but what about those who uphold it? This World Cup has 26 female referees. Find out more here.

Read all about it here: Why final group-stage matches are played at the same time

I learned of something called the Disgrace of Gijon, the incident we have to blame for these tight fixtures.

If you're wondering why we have a bottleneck-ish fixture pattern this week, my colleague Amal has the answers. Earlier in the day, we had a logistical nightmare figuring out how to time and man these blogs when we chanced upon a piece he did last year.

France makes four changes off the back of their 2-1 win against Norway in their last match. Perisset, Cascarino, Asseyi, and Bilbault coming into the starting XI while Torrent, Diani, Bussaglia, and Le Sommer dropping to the bench. The latter’s absence would typically be a shock, but this is one non-controversial choice by coach Corinne Dacre, as Le Sommer is carrying a yellow card, and another would have seen her suspended for the round of 16.

Different story for the hosts, on the other hand. France has never once lost the final match of the group stage (W6, D1).

Nigeria has faced the host nation in each of the last three editions of the Women’s World Cup, losing all three. Ouch. Daunting record heading into this game.

Its 22 degrees here in Rennes. What beautiful weather! The sun is shining through the stands here and it makes for a beautiful sight before start of play. Let's get straight down to team news.
 

TEAM NEWS

NIGERIA (4-3-3): Chiamaka Nnadozie; Chidinma Okeke, Osinachi Ohale, Onome Ebi, Ngozi Ebere; Halimatu Ayinde, Ngozi Okobi, Rita Chikwelu; Francisca Ordega, Desire Oparanozie, Asisat Oshoala.

FRANCE (4-4-2): Sarah Bouhaddi; Eve Perisset, Griedge Mbock Bathy, Wendie Renard, Amel Majri; Delphine Cascarino, Amandine Henry, Viviane Asseyi, Charlotte Bilbault; Valerie Gauvin, Gaetane Thiney.


Welcome back to the LIVE coverage of the Nigeria vs France Group A fixture.