World Cup: Group A Results

Preview

With the addition of Spain (#12) and China (#15) from Group B to the ranks of teams advancing to the knockout rounds, that leaves 5 spots remaining, with one (South Africa) eliminated. Norway, Nigeria, Brazil, and Australia can each assure a spot with a win or tie. All other teams need a win and/or help from other results.

Group A

France was already guaranteed to advance going into this round. Norway and Nigeria each had the opportunity to advance with a tie or a win, which was arguably easier for Norway, playing South Korea, the last place team in the group, than Nigeria, playing France, the top team. South Korea needed to win to have a chance to advance; winning by 4 goals or more would guarantee at least third in the group.

  • France 1
  • Nigeria 0

Roazhon Park, Rennes: France and Nigeria played to a scoreless first half, with France getting the better opportunities but failing to convert. The second half continued in much the same fashion until the 73rd minute, when a VAR review confirmed a penalty in the box, resulting in an automatic yellow card, which converted into an indirect red card (the second in the match for that player), and a Nigeria being down a player. They seemed to get a reprieve when France missed the penalty shot off the left post, but another review confirmed that the goalkeeper had left her line early, and Wendie Renard did not miss on her second attempt, in the 79th minute. The game increased in intensity, and there was just shy of 10 minutes of stoppage time, but the score remained unchanged. France wins the group with a perfect 9 points, which they have never done before, while Nigeria fails to determine its own future, having now to depend on the results of later games.

  • Norway 2
  • South Korea 1

Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims: Norway started quickly, with Caroline Graham Hansen scoring in the 4th minute on a penalty kick awarded when a player from South Korea wrapped her arms around an attacker and pulled her to the ground; that, however, was the extent of the scoring in the first half, and South Korea had the better of the play. Early in the second half, again, Norway was awarded another penalty kick (on a dangerous play that injured Graham Hansen), which Isabell Herlovsen scored in the 50th minute. As the game started winding down, Yeo Min-ji scored for Korea in the 78th minute to bring the score within a single goal, but that was as close as they would get, despite playing the better game throughout. Norway advances with the win, and with the loss, South Korea is eliminated.

Results

  • 1st: France 9 (3-0-0, +6) [advances]
  •  2nd: Norway 6 (2-0-1, +3) [advances]
  •   3rd: Nigeria 3 (1-0-2, -2)
  •    4th: South Korea 0 (0-0-3, -7) [eliminated]

France will face the third place team in Group C, Group D, or Group E (giving 9 different possible opponents). Norway will face the second place team in Group C (any team in that group). Nigeria is on the bubble and needs to wait for results of the remaining four groups to know whether or not they will advance (and cannot be eliminated before the final day of the group stage).

Nigeria advances if they finish better than two of the third place teams from the remaining four groups. Possible scenarios (Nigeria needs 2):

  • Group C (Tuesday): Jamaica beats Australia by 3-5 goals or Italy beats Brazil by 5 goals or more.
  • Group D (Wednesday): Argentina and Scotland tie.
  • Group E (Thursday early): Cameroon and New Zealand tie or either team wins by exactly 1 goal (assuming the “fair play” tiebreaker if Cameroon wins).
  • Group F (Thursday late): Chile and Thailand tie or Chile wins by only 1 or 2 goals or Thailand wins by fewer than 15 goals.

Group F looks likely to oblige, Group C looks very unlikely to cooperate, and the windows for both Group D and Group E are pretty narrow. Note, also, that most of the third place matchups in the knockout stage cannot be determined until Nigeria is either definitely in or out.

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