THE DAY REPLAYED – For the first time since the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup™ in 1991, two teams qualified from the group stage after their first two matches. Twenty years ago, it was Germany and Italy. This time it is Germany and France.
Simone Laudehr’s 64th-minute goal proved to be the match-winner for the hosts in a bruising encounter with Nigeria in Frankfurt, while France's progression to the last eight was rather more straightforward. On a beautiful evening in Bochum, they eased to a 4-0 win over Canada, who failed to register a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes.
With 100 per cent records intact, the two European teams also had special reason to celebrate other memorable centuries as France defender Laura George and Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer claimed their 100th caps on evenings where both of their respective sides kept clean sheets. The rivals now meet next Tuesday to decide who will finish top of Group A. France only need a draw, but Germany have a precious home advantage.
Canada 0-4 France
Germany 1-0 Nigeria
Goal of the day
Canada-France, 60’, Gaetane Thiney
Before today's match, no France player had ever scored two goals in a single FIFA Women’s World Cup match. Thiney broke the record in style. With Marie-Laure Delie applying pressure on defender Emily Zurrer, she forced an error with the Canada No2 passing the ball straight to Thiney. The Juvisy striker still had all the hard work to do, but did it, bending a sublime right-footed shot beyond the dive of Erin McLeod and just inside the post.
Gotham City comes to Germany
There was certainly a look of Batman about Canada’s Christine Sinclair in Bochum evening. The celebrated striker, wearing a mask to protect a broken nose suffered in the Opening Match with Germany, was unable to call on any superheroine powers to save her side. Indeed, she was off the pitch with a cut eyebrow when the French scored their fourth. Hardly a comic-book ending.
A World Cup atmosphere
From the very first whistle, and even beforehand, the atmosphere at the FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium in Frankfurt was considered to be one of the finest in the tournament’s 20-year history. Shouts of 'Deutschland, Deutschland' rang out from the first whistle, and the crowd were vocal in their support when Germany needed it most. Obviously, the sell-out crowd of 48,817 went home happy.
In the days when arguing with officials sadly seems to be the norm, it was refreshing to see Canada's Diana Matheson nod vigorously in agreement with referee Etsuko Fukano when the latter produced a yellow card. With France goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz rushing out to claim a loose ball, the committed midfielder accidentally caught her studs in the keeper’s face. After checking to see whether her opponent was OK first, Matheson then turns to the referee and readily accepted her punishment.
Old King Kohl
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was in the Frankfurt crowd to see Germany defeat Nigeria. Now 81, the first leader of the unified Germany in 1990 took his seat next to LOC President Steffi Jones. The proud German would have been delighted to see his side overcome Nigeria and qualify for the quarter-finals.
50 – Is the number of goals that Thiney has now scored for France and also the percentage record of wins for Les Bleues in international matches. The Group A encounter against Canada was France's 300th game and their 150th win. Indeed, their biggest victory in a FIFA tournament was a ‘50’ of sorts, a 5-0 win over Argentina in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2006. Back then, Louisa Necib, Delie (2) and Laure Boulleau, who all featured today, found themselves on the score-sheet.
"Don't forget this is the same team which came here and conceded eight goals to Germany in a friendly last November, so we have made some progress. We are no longer in contention, but we are still playing for pride and prestige against Canada next Tuesday,” Eucharia Uche, Nigeria coach.
Friday 1 July
Japan-Mexico, 15.00 CET, Leverkusen
New Zealand-England, 18.15 CET, Dresden
Have your say
Who will emerge triumphant in Monchengladbach and end up winning Group A: France or Germany?