France-Norway (12 June 2019, Stade de Nice, Nice)
To be the best, you have to beat the best, which is something France’s players have been keen to stress whenever asked if they can picture themselves becoming world champions on home soil. Fate has given them the opportunity to put that maxim into practice when they take on 1995 Women’s World Cup winners Norway, who have never failed to qualify for the competition. The head-to-head record shows there is nothing to choose between the sides, with their ten previous meetings yielding three wins apiece and four draws. The winners of this 11th duel will put themselves in with an excellent chance of winning the group.
What you need to know
- Nigeria will face France for the third time and do not have happy memories of the fixture. The Super Falcons pushed Les Bleues hard at Germany 2011 but went down 1-0, while they slumped to an 8-0 defeat in a 2016 friendly.
- Korea Republic had one of the best defensive records in the entire France 2019 qualifying competition. The Taeguk Warriors conceded just one goal in their eight matches, while scoring 30. Can the French, Norwegian and Nigerian strikers trouble the South Korean defence?
- Nigeria forward Desire Oparanozie will be on familiar ground in France, having played for Guingamp since 2014. After joining Paris Saint-Germain earlier in 2018, Norway’s Andrine Hegerberg is also no stranger to France.
2 - Group A rivals Norway and Nigeria are among the select band of teams never to have missed a single FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Norwegians have played a total of 35 matches in the competition, and the Nigerians 22. In contrast, France have only 14 matches to their name and Korea Republic a mere seven. Will that additional experience prove the difference between the sides?