Germany beats Nigeria 1-0 in Women’s World Cup

Simone Laudehr finished off a 54th-minute goalmouth scramble

with a thunderous volley high into the net to give Germany a 1-0

win over Nigeria and a place in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals

on Thursday.

At the other end, goalkeeper Nadine Angerer celebrated her 100th

international with a clean sheet which kept the host team perfect

with two victories, but hardly convincing in the three-week

tournament it is favored to win.

After France ran up a 4-0 win over Canada to also advance,

Germany will have to beat its neighbor next Tuesday if it wants to

top Group A. Nigeria was eliminated along with Canada.

”We are happy to advance but we have to work on our game,”

Germany coach Sylvia Neid said.

With Nigeria needing victory to stay in contention, Germany knew

the task ahead. And despite the support of a 48,817 sellout crowd,

it managed little beyond territorial domination.

In a sometimes rough game which referee Cha Sung-mi had trouble

controlling, Nigeria went head-to-head with Germany as much as

possible but was unable to create many chances against the two-time

defending champion.

Germany stuck with the same lineup as the one which beat Canada

2-1 in the opener, keeping veteran star Birgit Prinz in front of

her home crowd despite a disappointing opening game.

She was just as poor on Thursday. After a missed overhead kick

halfway through the game, she glanced upwards at the sky in

exasperation, knowing her poor form of the season has extended into

the World Cup. The 33-year-old Prinz is looking for one more goal

to become the first woman to score at least once in five World

Cups. She leads the all-time list with 14 goals.

It was bitter irony that just after Neid took Prinz off, the

match turned.

”I substituted her because I wanted more pressure upfield,”

Neid said.

Midfielder Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi swung in a low free kick from

the left, a first stab for goal was smothered, and a shot from

Alexandra Popp was blocked but only as far as Laudehr, who blasted

home.

Finally, the German flags went up, the roar of deliverance was

deafening, and Germany was on its way to the quarterfinals.

”It didn’t go smoothly,” Laudehr said.

”We knew that they would be tough because they needed three

points. They made our life difficult,” she said.

Even though Neid warned of a tough game, the fans eyed the

statistics instead. Germany beat Nigeria 8-0 in a friendly this

season. And overall, Germany was 6-for-6 with a 21-2 goal

differential.

Expectations of an easy game between the No. 2 and No. 27 in the

FIFA rankings were proven wrong, as Nigeria kept putting in

crunching tackles, was on edge all the time, and not ready to leave

the tournament easily.

But tougher opposition is coming up for Germany, with France

next.

Lineups:

Germany: Nadine Angerer, Babett Peter, Saskia Bartusiak, Annike

Krahn, Linda Bresonik, Simone Laudehr, Kim Kulig, Melanie Behringer

(Alexandra Popp, 31), Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi (Fatmire Bajramaj,

87), Kerstin Garefrekes, Birgit Prinz (Inka Grings, 52).

Nigeria: Precious Dede, Faith Ikidi, Osinachi Ohale, Onome Ebi,

Helen Ukaonu, Stella Mbachu (Francisca Ordega, 85), Rita Chikwelu,

Ebere Orji (Amenze Aighewi, 63), Perpetua Nkwocha, Desire

Oparanozie, Sarah Michael (Uchechi Sunday, 70).