Women's World Cup: Nigeria coach fumes at VAR calls

Nigeria finished third in Group A and is not yet assured of progression after two VAR decisions went against them in Rennes.

Wendie Renard celebrates after scoring the only goal of the contest, via a penalty. Photo: AP

Thomas Dennerby fumed at the refereeing decisions that "destroyed" Nigeria's game plan as it was beaten by France at the Women's World Cup on Monday.

Nigeria was reduced to 10 women when Ngozi Ebere conceded a late penalty following a VAR review, before France was given a second opportunity when Wendie Renard struck the post. Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stepped off her line early and the spot-kick was retaken, this time seeing Renard pick out the top-right corner for the only goal of the game.

The defeat means Nigeria is not yet assured of a place in the second round and coach Dennerby suggested he was so infuriated that he could not honestly assess the decision. "If I gave you my honest feelings, they would probably send me home. It's better I don't say anything," he said. "My players are heroes."

REPORT | Nigeria 0 France 1

Dennerby added: "Of course I'm disappointed with the result. France are a really good team and they don't need support from anybody to win games. I feel so sorry because the girls were fighting so well and they followed the match plan. It got destroyed by people we are not so happy with."

 

France coach Corinne Diacre insisted the right decision was made and instead chose to focus on Renard's courage to retake her missed penalty. "There are new rules, so we know that the goalkeeper has to have at least one foot on the line — which wasn't the case, which was why she was given a yellow card," Diacre said.

"Unfortunately, maybe it was a little severe for her, but we have to apply the rules that were applied on June 1. It was something that played in our favour today.

"When it comes to the second penalty, I would really like to commend the courage that Wendie showed. She had that tenacity to be able to take that burden and go back to the penalty spot."

Pressed further on the decision, she added: "It was VAR. VAR reigns. FIFA decided to use VAR during this tournament. It worked in our favour this evening, but maybe it won't work in our favour next time. We'll have to see."