France beats Nigeria 1-0 in World Cup opener
Sinsheim, Germany: The Women`s World Cup has opened its three-week showcase, with France beating Nigeria 1-0.
Marie-Laure Delie scored in the 56th minute before a boisterous crowd of more than 25,000 fans at Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
In Sunday`s other Group A game, host Germany plays Canada at Berlin`s Olympic Stadium, the official opener to the 16-team tournament.
Nigeria slowly worked their way into the game and Desure Oparanozie was sent clear down the right side in the 25th minute.
But the 17-year-old failed to keep her nerves and shot well left of goal in a one-on-one situation against French keeper Berangere Sapowicz, missing clearly the best chance of the first half.
Nigeria coach Ngozi Uche was forced to replace Faith Ikidi in favour of Josephine Chukwunonye after just 34 minutes.
And Necib had a long shot batted away for a corner by Dede a minute before the break.
France coach Bruno Bini made one switch at half-time, bringing in Eugiene Le Sommer for Sandrine Soubeyrand.
The move paid off for Les Bleus as Le Sommer received a through ball on the right side and the Olympique Lyon midfielder crossed into the box where Necib got her foot on the ball before Delie blasted it past Dede.
The French celebrated with Bussaglia acting as if she was shining Delie`s shoes.
The 23-yearp-old Montpellier forward Delie is in fantastic form, having now scored 22 goals in 21 caps and 12 goals in her last six matches.
Delie nearly struck again after 64 minutes, twisting and striking but only finding Dede.
Bini had to make a final substitution five minutes later with Renard coming out holding her groin area and replaced by Laure Lepailleur.
Nigeria went for broke and brought on 16-year-old starlet Uchechi Sunday in the 78th minute for another forward.
But the French defence held - just barely as left back Sonia Bompastor helped clear a dangerous header with four minutes to play.
France nearly finished off the African giants but Necib`s free kick went just over the crossbar in the 90th minute.
France next play Canada on Thursday while Nigeria face hosts Germany that same day.