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No Ada no problem: Five things learned as Norway cruise to 3-0 Women’s World Cup win over Nigeria
It’s Onome Ebi’s fifth World Cup playing for Nigeria, she made her debut all the way back in 2003 when Norway’s opening scorer Guro Reiten was just nine years old. To have achieved such longevity is a remarkable achievement and should be praised.
But you have to wonder if Ebi would be better sitting the tournament out? Her leadership and experience are obviously valuable but maybe don’t have her actually on the pitch? The 36-year-old was almost literally at fault for all three of the goals Norway scored.
Lisa-Marie Utland fired through the hands of keeper Tochukwu Oluehi to make it 2-0 before an own goal by Osinachi Ohale compounded Nigeria's misery.
Norway are level on points with hosts France, who they face on Wednesday. Ingrid Hjelmseth, Norway's 39-year-old goalkeeper, had little to do as Nigeria struggled to carve out chances.
On a bad night for the African champions, defender Faith Michael was carried off on a stretcher after being caught by team-mate Oluehi. Norway are chasing their first world title for 24 years and Martin Sjogren's side certainly laid down a marker as they breezed past the group's lowest ranked team at Stade Auguste-Delaune.
Reiten combined with Caroline Hansen to open the scoring, her shot deflecting off the arm of Ebi, the first African to play in five World Cups, on its way into the net. Utland doubled the lead with a powerful shot which Norway celebrated with a fake team selfie, before Ohale's attempted clearance from Isabell Herlovsen's cross ended up in her own net.
While the Super Falcons now face a battle to stay in the tournament, Norway head to Nice to face hosts France in buoyant mood. Norway boss Martin Sjogren: "Our style will be totally different against France. We were on top of the match all the time [here] but against France it will be a totally different match, they are much more attacking than we are.
"We're going to go a bit deeper, we'll play as more of a group. We will try to make counter-attacks against France. We have a clear plan for how we're going to play against them. We know it's going to be tough, but we have a very good team." Norway defender Maren Mjelde: "It's always great for us defenders and the keeper to keep a clean sheet, it's an important thing for us. "We're going to enjoy this victory a little bit and then we're going to travel to Nice to meet another world-class team [France]." Nigeria boss Thomas Dennerby: "When it comes to sport, never ever give up. We have to fight for 180 minutes more, plus added time.
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