France beats Norway at Women’s World Cup after VAR controversy

The host nation had led through Valerie Gauvin’s 46th minute strike before French defender Wendie Renard inexplicably put through her own goal to gift Norway a route back into the contest.

But with Norway threatening to ruin the hosts’ night, the game was turned on its head when Ingrid Engen was adjudged to have fouled Marion Torrent inside the penalty area.
German referee Bibiana Steinhaus, who did not award the penalty at the time, changed her mind after consulting VAR, the video assistant referee, and allowed Eugenie Le Sommer to step up and fire home the winner from the spot.

Norway’s players appeared confused by the decision though replays did suggest that Engen played the ball, she also caught her opponent on the follow through.

The victory leaves France with two wins from its opening two games and in great shape to make the next stage.

Germany maintains perfect start

Earlier Wednesday, Germany also made it two wins out of two after overcoming Spain 1-0 in Valenciennes.

Sara Daebritz scored the only goal of the game three minutes before the interval as Germany stretched its unbeaten run to 13 matches in all competitions.

Germany, a two-time world champion, will be assured of top spot in Group B if Thursday’s game between China and South Africa finishes as a draw. If there is a positive result, then it will require just a point from its final group match against South Africa In Montpellier on Monday.

The result will be all the more galling for Spain given the number of chances it created before Daebritz slid home Germany’s winning goal.

Sara Daebritz of Germany scores her team's first goal against Spain.

Nahikari Garcia missed a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring after bursting through the center of the German defense but failed to hit the target. Silvia Meseguer then went close with her effort fizzing inches wide as Spain piled on the pressure.

In the end Spain was made to pay. Alexandra Popp’s close-range header was only parried by goalkeeper Sandra Panos, allowing Daebritz to beat Marta Torrejon to the ball and poke home what proved to be the winning goal.

“We did not start well, we were nervous for some reason. We were lucky not to fall a goal behind,” Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told a news conference after the game.

“Thank God we scored and then we delivered an amazing-energy performance in the second half. The important thing now is we have six points in this group.”

‘Super Falcons’

Elsewhere, Asisat Oshoala inspired Nigeria to its first win at the tournament after it defeated South Korea 2-0 in Grenoble.

The Super Falcons, beaten in its opening game by Norway, bounced back courtesy of an own-goal by Korea’s Kim Do-yeun and Oshoala’s fine second half strike.

Oshoala, who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the under-20 World Cup in 2014, underlined her reputation as one of the most exciting players in the game by sealing her team’s victory by rounding off a fine Nigerian move 15 minutes from time.

The 24-year-old, a three-time African footballer of the year, raced onto the Chidinma Okeke’s perfect through ball before accelerating away from her marker and rolling the ball past the goalkeeper.

South Korea's defender Kim Do-yeon (C) scores an own-goal during her team's clash with Nigeria.
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“At first, I think we were a little bit scared of losing and going out,” Oshoala told the competition’s official website after the game.

“But after a while we just decided to go for it. I always say that I’m never under pressure — I just go on the pitch and do my job. It’s an 11-player game and I just look to enjoy the game, have fun and do the right thing for my team. The group is wide open now. We just have to concentrate now on making sure we get the points we need against France.”

Oshoala, who signed a three-year deal with Barcelona last month after an impressive spell on loan from Chinese club Dalian Quanjian, has enjoyed a stellar season.

During her four-month spell at Barcelona, she scored eight goals in 11 appearances and helped the club reach the Champions League final.

Nigeria's forward Asisat Oshoala (R) reacts as she scores a goal against South Korea.

She also became the first African woman to play and score in the final of the competition though it was not enough to prevent a 4-1 defeat by French side Lyon Feminines.

Her goal capped a miserable afternoon for the Koreans which had gifted its opponent a 29th minute lead through Kim’s own-goal.

Its frustration was further increased when Lee Geu-min’s strike was ruled out for offside with her side trailing 1-0.

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The defeat all but ends South Korea’s hopes of qualifying for the next stage after it was thrashed by host nation France in the opening game of the tournament.

It also leaves Korea, ranked 14th in the world, without a point or goal to its name.

Nigeria will take on France in its final group game on Monday while South Korea takes on Norway