2019 Women's World Cup: African champions Nigeria lose opener to Norway

Author: Rosalind K. Amoh
Down and out: Nigeria go down 0-3 to Norway.REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Down and out: Nigeria go down 0-3 to Norway.REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

African champions, Nigeria, began their Women's World Cup (WWC) campaign on a disappointing note losing their opening Group A game 0-3 to Norway on Saturday as the tournament kicked off with the group campaign.

It was particularly a disappointing start for the Super Falcons of Nigeria as much was expected of them as Africa's most experienced side and with the most participation at the WWC with eight appearances.

However, that did not show much in their performance as they conceded three goals in the first half with some defensive blunders.

Strikes from Guro Reiten and Lisa-Marie Utland and an own goal Osinachi Ohale gave the 1995 world champions a strong lead which they held on to till the end.

Nigeria came up strongly in the second half, but could not score against Norway

The Super Falcons whose best performance at the WWC is their quarter-finals berth in 1999, despite being Africa's best at the tournament, resumed the second half on a stronger note with Coach Thomas Dennerby making some changes, but they could not break down the strong Norway defence.

Nigeria's Faith Michael could not continue the game after being carried away following an injury

There was more trouble for Nigeria as defender Faith Michael was stretchered off after a collision with team-mate Tochukwu Oluehi in their desperate bid to foil a dangerous move from the Norwegians.

With France also winning the opening Group A game 4-0 against South Korea, the Nigerians are third on the Group A table behind France and Norway in first and second place respectively.

The Falcons have a chance to make amends when they play South Korea in the second group game on June 12.

Group A

Results at a glance
* France 4, South Korea 0
* Norway 3, Nigeria 0

Standings
Team               P    W    D    L    GF    GA    GD    PTS
France             1    1     0     0    4      0      4       3
Norway            1    1     0     0    3      0      3       3
Nigeria             1    0     0     1    0      3     -3       0
South Korea    1     0    0     1    0       3     -4      0


Upcoming matches
Date: Wednesday, June 12
* Nigeria v South Korea (1:00PM)
* France v Norway (7:00PM)