The expectations were high as hosts and defending champions Germany took on Nigeria in a Group A encounter at the FIFA Women´s World Cup Stadium, Frankfurt. The Germans scored a solitary goal win in a match, which sailed close to the winds of fair play.
Germany coach Silvia Neid didn’t make any changes to her starting line-up, while her Nigerian counterpart Ngozi Uche opted to leave Glory Iroka on the bench and to give Sarah Michael the preference.
The Germans took the kick-off and had their first challenge on the Nigerian goal in the 2nd minute. Simone Laudehr managed to get a touch on a return pass by a Nigerian player and the ball deflected towards the goal. But the ball was unplaced and keeper Precious Dede had no difficulties to save the attempt.
Germany quickly dominated the match in-front of a capacity crowd in Frankfurt and pressed forward on the Nigerian midfield to intercept and stop any attacks by the Africans.
Midfielder Kim Kulig’s attempt to test the Nigerians with a long range shot in the 13th minute was easily saved by Dede.
Nigeria had a first opportunity to challenge Germany keeper Nadine Angerer in the 22nd minute, when Sarah Michael intercepted a poor pass by Saskia Bartusiak and had a run into the box. But Michael’s attempt to shoot resulted in a weak pass-like ball into the hands of Angerer.
The Nigerians managed to get rid of the German dominance at the half-hour mark and were on par against the favourites.
German coach Neid had to make an early change to the line-up as Melanie Behringer had to leave the pitch due to an injury in the 31st minute. Shooting star Alexandra Popp came on to replace Behringer to the delight of the home crowd.
But the match turned into a poor quality encounter in the first half with the Nigerian players benefiting from several poor decisions by Korean referee Cha Sung Mi. The Nigerians were lucky not to concede handful bookings in the latter stages of the first half.
The score line remained goalless at half-time and the fans were not too satisfied with the match as they clearly signified their mood with catcalls.
Germany tried hard to get back into the game with their famous “fighting spirit” and was rewarded in the 54th minute. The German’s were awarded a free kick at the edge of the area, which was sent to the box by Celia Okoyino da Mbabi. Substitute Inka Grings’ back heel attempt was blocked by the Nigerians just as Alexandra Popp’s shot. But midfielder Simone Laudehr took the rebound and fired it into the Nigerian net to give her side the lead.
The match remained a tough fight with the Nigerians continuing their aggressive style of football including brutal and unpunished fouls on their opponents.
Though the Germans almost increased the lead in the 64th minute, when a counter-attack by the host nation resulted in a chance for Kerstin Garefrekes. A shot by Inka Grings deflected off a Nigerian defender and reached Garefrekes, who volleyed it over the crossbar.
Inka Grings continued to push for a second German goal and fired a shot on target from the edge of the box in the 77th minute. But her dangerous shot was parried by Nigeria’s Dede.
Nigeria had no proper reply to the German tactical experience and morale in the dying minutes of the match and had to settle for a defeat by the hands of the reigning World Champions.
Group A – Matchday 5
Germany 1-0 Nigeria
2nd HALF IN PROGRESS
1-0 Simone LAUDEHR (54′)
FIFA Women´s World Cup Stadium, Frankfurt
1-Nadine ANGERER; 10-Linda BRESONIK, 3-Saskia BARTUSIAK, 5-Annike KRAHN, 4-Babett PETER; 6-Simone LAUDEHR, 14-Kim KULIG; 18-Kerstin GAREFREKES, 7-Melanie BEHRINGER (31′ 11-Alexandra POPP); 9-Birgit PRINZ [C] (52′ 8-Inka GRINGS); 13-Celia OKOYINO DA MBABI (87′ 19-Fatmire BAJRAMAJ)
2-Bianca SCHMIDT, 12-Ursula HOLL, 15-Verena FAISST, 16-Martina MUELLER, 17-Ariane HINGST, 20-Lena GOESSLING, 21-Almuth SCHULT
1-Precious DEDE [C]; 14-Faith IKIDI, 3-Osinachi OHALE, 5-Onome EBI, 6-Helen UKAONU; 12-Sarah MICHAEL (70′ 19-Uchechi SUNDAY), 10-Rita CHIKWELU; 7-Stella MBACHU (85′ 17-Francisca ORDEGA), 4-Perpetua NKWOCHA, 8-Ebere ORJI (62′ 20-Amenze AIGHEWI); 9-Desire OPARANOZIE
2-Rebecca KALU, 11-Glory IROKA, 13-Ogonna CHUKWUDI, 15-Josephine CHUKWUNONYE, 16-Tochukwu OLUEHI, 18-Ulunma JEROME, 21-Alaba JONATHAN
CHA Sung Mi (KOR)
Widiya SAMSURI (MAS), KIM Kyoung Min (KOR)
51′ Osinachi OHALE (Nigeria)
74′ Kim KULIG (Germany)