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Germany became the first team to reach the quarters after seeing off spirited Nigeria ... with a little help from VAR. Germany were deserved winners, dominating possession, scoring three, keeping yet another clean sheet. But Nigeria performed with great resolve and no little skill. That run from Rasheedat Ajibade early in the second half was as exhilarating as football gets. Had Desire Oparanozie got a toe on Ajibade’s cross to half the deficit, this would have been a whole lot tighter. Nigeria will also point to the questionable VAR call that allowed Germany’s first goal to stand, with Svenja Huth standing in front of Chiamaka Nnadozie, offside, arguably interfering with play. But Germany had too much, even in second gear, as Alexandra Popp scored her 48th international goal while Lea Schuller bagged a clinical first at a World Cup. They advance to the quarters having played four, won four, scored nine, conceded none. Imagine what they might do if they start playing well!
Two-time champions Germany continued their unbeaten run at the Women's World Cup when they beat Nigeria 3-0 to qualify for the quarterfinals on Saturday. Skipper Alexandra Popp and Sara Daebritz netted in quick succession in the first half with Lea Schuller wrapping it up late on to set up a meeting with Sweden or Canada.
On her 100th appearance for Germany, Popp headed the first home after 20 minutes and Daebritz doubled the tally with a penalty seven minutes later, with VAR being used for both goals. Schuller added the third on 86 minutes as the African champions ran out of gas. The only team along with the U.S. not to concede a goal in the tournament, Germany have now reached the last eight at every Women's World Cup.
VAR was used to confirm the legitimacy of that goal but, not for the first time in this tournament, it played an even bigger and more controversial part in Germany's second, which followed a few minutes later.
Germany's Lina Magull was caught by Evelyn Nwabuoku, whose follow-through caught Magull after the Nigeria defender brushed the ball. To the Nigerian players' confusion and consternation, the referee pointed to the spot after instruction from VAR. Däbritz powered home the penalty.
A scrappy second half ensued, with Nigeria coming within millimeters of halving Germany's lead when Desire Oparanozie couldn't quite connect with Rasheedat Ajibade's cross after a blistering run down the left. Germany rubber-stamped the victory with eight minutes to play, when Lea Schüller pounced on a mix-up at the back between Halimatu Ayinde and goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie to guide the ball into the bottom corner, and Germany into the last eight.
Sweden or Canada await in the quarters and, with USA, France and England on the other side of the draw, Germany will be looking forward to welcoming back key midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan and making a run for the latter stages in France. Marozsan looks set to return for that quarterfinal too, according to coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, who also confirmed that Marozsan could have featured against Nigeria on Saturday if she was needed. "Dzsenifer will be back in the quarterfinals. We won for her today so she can re-join the tournament," Voss-Tecklenburg said after the game. "We could have used Dzsenifer today if we needed her."
Popp makes it to 100 - stats Germany have now reached the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup every time since the competition began in 1991. This was the first ever knockout stage meeting between an African side and a European side; indeed, Germany have now won each of their five matches in the competition against African opposition with an aggregate score of 22-0. Only Australia vs Italy (39) has seen more fouls conceded in a 2019 Women's World Cup match than Germany's victory over Nigeria (31). Nigeria defender Onome Ebi played in her 14th Women's World Cup match, the most appearances in the competition by a Super Falcons player. In what was her 14th World Cup match for Germany, striker Popp made her 100th appearance for her country.
Germany maintain their record of reaching every World Cup quarter-final! They’ll play Sweden or Canada next Saturday. Nigeria are on the way home.
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