PARIS Ė Germany beat Spain 1-0 on Wednesday in the group stage of the FIFA Womenís Soccer World Cup in France, while the hosts overcame Norway 2-1 despite an own goal and Nigeria topped South Korea 2-0.
Germany, after having beaten China 1-0 in their first match of Group B, achieved the same result against a motivated Spanish team in Valenciennes. Spain had 59 percent of possession and won the corner count 7-2, but Germany prevailed with 8-2 shots on target.
The only goal of the match came in the 42nd minute after Svenja Huth ran down the right passing to Alexandra Popp, who tried a header which was blocked by Spainís goalie Sandra Panos. However, the ball rolled loose so Sabrina Daebritz just had to stick out her foot to push it over the line.
Earlier, in the first match of the day, Nigeria won against South Korea, keeping their hopes alive in Group A. The two losing teams of the first round met and neither could fail if they wanted to keep their chances of reaching the round of 16.
Although South Korea went into the game much stronger, with four early chances, after half an hour Kim Do-Yeonís own goal gave Nigeria life. Just 15 minutes before the final whistle, Asisat Oshoala settled matters for the Africans.
Nigeria is set to next face France, who completed the day with a 2-1 win over Norway to make it two wins in a row.
As Didier Deschamps looked on, the French women were once again a solid team with aplomb. Norway, meant to be their toughest opponents in Group A, could barely resist in the first half.
The French dominance was rewarded at the beginning of the second half, when Amel Majri managed a magnificent cross from the left flank that Valerie Gauvin masterfully finished off with a goal.
The 1-0 scoreline was reassuring for the French side, who nevertheless suffered an unexpected shock when just eight minutes later, their defender Wendie Renard directed the ball into her own goal when trying to clear an easy roller into the corner.
But that own goal didnít harm France, who kept their focus on the three points and achieved these with a penalty kick in the 72nd minute. Marion Torrent was felled by an Ingrid Engren tackle and German referee Bibiana Steinhaus consulted the video assistant referee (VAR) before she eventually pointed to the penalty spot, which Eugenie Le Sommer then scored.
With the group leadership almost decided, France will face Nigeria in the final group match. The African side needs a win to remain alive, while Norway will also have a tough game against an unpredictable South Korea.