Two-time champions Germany qualified for their eighth consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final with a 3-0 win over Nigeria Saturday. 100-cap Alexandra Popp gave Germany the lead, Dabritz penalty made it two Schuller wrapped things up late on as Nigeria tired.
Popp, winning her 100th cap, and Sara Daebritz netted in quick succession in the first half with Lea Schueller wrapping it up late on to set up a meeting with Sweden or Canada.
Popp headed home after 20 minutes and Daebritz doubled the tally with a penalty seven minutes later, with VAR being used for both goals. Schueller added the third on 86 minutes as the African champions ran out of gas.
Germany were deserved winners, dominating possession, scoring three, keeping yet another clean sheet. But Nigeria performed with great resolve and no little skill. That run from Rasheedat Ajibade early in the second half was as exhilarating as football gets.
Had Desire Oparanozie got a toe on Ajibade’s cross to half the deficit, this would have been a whole lot tighter. Nigeria will also point to the questionable VAR call that allowed Germany’s first goal to stand, with Svenja Huth standing in front of Chiamaka Nnadozie, offside, arguably interfering with play.
But Germany had too much, even in second gear, as Alexandra Popp scored her 48th international goal while Lea Schuller bagged a clinical first at a World Cup.
3-0 might look like an easy win for Germany on paper, but if you saw the relief in the players’ eyes after that decisive third goal, you just know it wasn’t. While lots of things worked the way the DFB Frauen might have envisioned before the match and they will be pleased with their performance, Nigeria asked a lot of them and things certainly would have become a lot more interesting had the Super Falcons converted that glorious chance shortly after the restart.
They advance to the quarters having played four, won four, scored nine, conceded none. Imagine what they might do if they start playing well! The 2003 and 2007 champions have qualified for an eighth consecutive quarter-final. That’s their 30th win in the competition; only USA (36) have managed more.
“That first goal gave us some safety, but then we allowed Nigeria to get back into the game a little bit. After the break, we were very dominant.” – Alexandra Popp, Player of the Match
DFB Frauen are yet to concede at this tournament and their defence has now not been breached for 372 minutes at the Women’s World Cup. No African team has scored against Germany in five World Cup matches.
It is the end of the road for the Nigeria Super Falcons. While they will be disappointed to depart France 2019 in this manner, they met their objective of progressing from the group and there are some key lessons for Thomas Dennerby to build on. Positively they look to have unearthed some young players who could be long term foundations of the squad.
Germany picked up their fourth-straight clean sheet as they cruised to victory against Nigeria.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 22, 2019
“I think we showed the whole world that Nigeria have a team that has improved a lot. Of course you’re not satisfied to go out but you also have to recognise where we came from – and we’re just not ready yet. It’s important to play high-level teams like Germany because the players can see that even the smallest mistakes get punished. But the second half was really good and now we just need to focus on improving and using all the FIFA dates to play matches. Because we have some really talented players back in Nigeria.” – Thomas Dennerby, Nigeria coach