Germany and Norway win and head into the quarter-finals
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Germany became the first team to reach the quarter-finals Saturday with a decisive win over Nigeria, while Norway finally edged out Australia in penalty shoot-out.
Germany captain Alexandra Popp hailed a “perfect day” after leading her team into the last eight of the Women’s World Cup with a hard-fought 3-0 win over underdogs Nigeria on Saturday.
Popp, 28, scored a 20th-minute opener and celebrated her 100th cap as Germany became the first team to reach the quarter-finals.
“It was a perfect day today. We put a lot of pressure on the Nigerians and the early goal gave us stability,” Popp told broadcaster ZDF.
“I am so happy for Poppi. It was a special game for her today, and she gave absolutely everything,” added coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
Voss-Tecklenburg’s side are yet to concede a goal in their four games at the World Cup so far.
Goalkeeper Almuth Schult admitted that she had one eye on predecessor Nadine Angerer’s record of seven clean sheets at a single World Cup.
“Of course it would be great if I can break the record, but the most important thing is that we won. We are so happy to be in the quarter-finals.”
Popp gave Germany the lead on 20 minutes after heading in Lina Magull’s in-swinging corner. The goal was allowed to stand after a video referral ruled that team mate Svenja Huth had not blocked the goalkeeper’s vision from an offside position, but Popp complained after the match that the players had been left in the dark over the referral.
“There were moments with VAR today where we didn’t know what was happening,” she said.
Magull was involved again as Germany doubled the lead minutes later. The midfielder was caught on the knee as Nigerian left-back Evelyn Nwabouku attempted to clear a loose ball in the area.
After reviewing the incident on the touchline, the referee awarded Germany a penalty, and striker Sara Daebritz made no mistake from 12 yards.
Three yellow cards were awarded in the second half as the Nigerians were unable to battle their way back into the game on a sweltering evening in Grenoble.
Schueller put paid to their hopes on 82 minutes, pouncing on a mistake from Halimat Ayinde and smashing the ball into the bottom corner.
Germany will face either Sweden or Canada, who play on Monday, in the quarter-final next weekend.
Norway knock out Australia in penalty shootout
Norway are through to the quarter-finals after beating Australia 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the last 16 in Nice on Saturday.
Ingrid Engen converted the decisive penalty for the Norwegians after both Sam Kerr and Emily Gielnik had failed to convert from the spot for the Australians.
Norway had earlier taken the lead through Isabell Herlovsen before being pegged back by Elise Kellond-Knight late on, but the 1995 winners go through to a quarter-final against either England or Cameroon.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)