PARIS (Rahnuma): Own goals mattered at Women’s World Cup in France on Wednesday, as the hosts were almost cost a victory against Norway and South Korea were beaten 2-0 by Nigeria in Group A.
The only other match played on the day saw world No. 2 Germany see off Spain to earn back-to-back wins following a 1-0 nip over the 1999 runners-up China last Saturday.
A total of 24 teams are divided into six groups, and top two finishers from each group plus four best third-placed teams advance to the last 16.
France and Germany, both on two wins from as many matches in their respective groups, came out the first duo ensuring a berth to the last 16, even before the other Group B second round fixture pitting China and South Africa to be played in Paris on Thursday.
Late on Thursday evening, defender Wendie Renard’s own goal almost ruined the night for France, but Eugenie Le Sommer’s penalty eased the hosts’ emotions as Les Bleues edged past Norway 2-1.
The hosts broke the deadlock just seconds into the second half, as Amel Majri swung in a cross from the left and Valerie Gauvin got in front of her marker to tap the ball into the net.
The Norwegians, however, pulled the equalizer eight minutes later with a stroke of luck. Wendie Renard, who scored two goals on Friday night when France crashed South Korea 4-0, surprisingly tapped Isabell Herlovsen’s cross into her own goal.
On 70 minutes, Marion Torrent was tripped down by Ingrid Syrstad Engen in the box, and the referee awarded the hosts a penalty after viewing the VAR. Le Sommer stepped up to coolly covert it.
In the other Group A encounter of the day, African champions Nigeria threw all they had into the game to defeat South Korea 2-0 and earn their first three points of the 8th quadrennial event.
The Super Falcons, who lost 3-0 to Norway in the first round of group stage, took the lead after South Korean defender Kim Do Yong misdirected a forward thrust by midfielder Rita Chikwelu past her own goalkeeper in 29th minute.
And right back Okeke, just 18 years old, got her touches right to send Asisat Oshoala to nick the second goal for Nigeria with 15 minutes left.
The win was Nigeria’s first at the World Cup since 2011 when they defeated Canada 1-0 in Germany.