Women's World Cup - France win opener
Sun, 26 Jun 15:58:00 2011
France kicked their Women's World Cup campaign off with a 1-0 Group A win against Nigeria in Sinsheim, in the tournament's opening game.
Marie-Laure Delie scored the game's only goal on 56 minutes following sustained pressure from Les Bleues, but they had to endure a nervy finish at the Rhein-Neckar Stadion.
France, whose squad contains 10 members of the Champions League-winning Lyon side, started strongly with skilful winger Louisa Necib to the fore as they focused their attacks down the left side.
When Elise Bussaglia tested Nigerian goalkeeper Precious Dede from 25 yards, it looked like an avalanche of goals was possible, but a combination of defence in numbers and profligate French finishing kept the match goalless.
The breakthrough finally came 10 minutes after the break, when Necib deflected a Eugenie Le Sommer cross into the path of Delie, who beat Dede with her second touch.
As France struggled to put the game away, they became increasingly ragged at the back, but Nigeria lacked the wherewithal to test goalkeeper Berganere Sapowicz.
Nigeria are without a World Cup win in eight matches, and must take something from their match against hosts, holders and favourites Germany on Thursday to maintain any genuine chance of progressing.
France will all but book their place in the last eight if they beat Canada.
Women WC: Hlts France-Nige