The 2019 Women World Cup kicked off last Friday with 24 teams in the race to be crowned “queens” of the game over the month-long tournament in France.
There are 24 teams classed into six groups. Africa’s representatives are Nigeria’s Super Falcons, Banyana Banyana of South Africa and the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon.
The groups with African representatives are as follows:
GROUP A: France (hosts), Korea Republic, Norway, Nigeria
GROUP B: Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
GROUP E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
In this rolling coverage, Africanews keeps up to date with the major ongoings around the three African teams.
You can read about the following major areas by scrolling below:
- Nigeria eyes knockout as Thailand hold Chile
- Miracle of Montpellier: Cameroon makes knockout round
- Cameroon vs. New Zealand – Permutations for Africa
- Cameroon ready to face New Zealand
- Nigeria beaten by France but could still progress
- South Africa’s dismal outing ends with 4 – 0 rout
- Nigeria face hosts, South Africa hope to end on a high
- Africa’s remaining fixtures as at 15 – 06 – 2019
- Cameroon lose to Netherlands
- South Africa lose to China
- Match Day: South Africa vs. China in Paris
- Match Report: Nigeria vs. Korea in Grenoble
- Match Report: Cameroon’s narrow loss to Canada
- Rolling updates on African representatives
- Summary of 8th WWC and France hosting
- Match report: South Africa vs. Spain
- Match report: Nigeria vs. Norway
Africa potentially getting two knockout slots
Nigeria can qualify as one of the four third-best teams with the final round of games underway in France.
The game of interest being Thailand vs. Chile. The most likely team to go through being the South Americans. At half time, they are goalless but how can Chile qualify?
They need to close the goal difference gap on Nigeria. At the moment, Chile are lagging behind with -5. Nigeria’s goal difference is currently at -2.
Any victory by a minimum three-goal margin will see Chile move ahead of them. They would equal the goal difference but move ahead on goals scored.
A draw or a defeat for Chile and they would be going home. Thailand would need to win by 15 goals to go through!
Cameroon snatch qualification in victory over New Zealand
Cameroon won a tense game to secure qualification into the knock-out stages of the tournament with a last gasp goal.
The Lionesses scored all three goals in a 2 – 1 victory. The first goal came on the 57th minute mark through Ajara Nchout.
She controlled a ball into the box, with her back to goal and two defenders – Abby Erceg and Anna Green – just behind her. She spun both defenders and then slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.
Near disaster struck on the 80th minute mark as Katie Bowen’s cross was turned in by Cameroon defender Aurelle Awona, for an own goal.
Ajara got her second in injury time with what was the last kick of the game sending Cameroon into the last 16.
“She gets the ball on the edge of the box, cuts inside Ria Percival, then cuts the other way past the defender, composes herself and then guides the ball into the corner of the net,” a BBC commentator said.
That goal was scored with 11 seconds to go. New Zealand meanwhile have to wait longer for their first win at the tournament.
Analysis: How a Cameroon win could affect Nigeria
With the game currently goaless at half-time: The race to finish in third position is up for grabs in Group E where Netherlands and Canada have already qualified.
For a 24-team tournament, aside the 12 teams that automatically qualify – first and second from the group stages – four other teams get to go through as third best from the groups.
Cameroon and New Zealand stand a chance of taking one of those slots depending on the outcome of today’s fixture.
So far, two of the four third-best slots have been filled by Brazil and China.Nigeria is in contention for one slot with their three points from winning against South Korea.
If Cameroon and New Zealand draw, they are both out. A win for any of them will take the permutations to goals difference and goals scored. If that balances out as per what Nigeria currently has, it will come down to fair play.
The BBC explains the fair play situation as follows: “Nigeria currently have eight disciplinary ‘points’ (one point for a yellow card, three points for a player getting two bookings, four points for a straight red, five points for a yellow and then a straight red). Cameroon have five – and New Zealand have none.”
Cameroon XI: Ngo Ndom, Ejangue, Awona, Johnson, Leuko, Nchout, Feudjio, Yango, Abam, Enganamouit, Onguene.
NZ XI: Nayler, Green, Stott, Erceg, Riley, Chance, Percival, Bowen, Duncan, Gregorious, White.
Other games slated for today are:
Netherlands vs. Canada
Sweden vs. USA
Thailand vs. Chile
Cameroon vs. New Zealand
Cameroon vs. New Zealand is slated for Thursday June 20 at Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier. The Indomitable Lionesses are hoping to record a victory and hopefully make it to the next stage as one of the third best sides.
The mission is however a tall order for a side that has yet to even get a point from their first two games. Losing narrowly to Canada in Montpellier and heavily to the Netherlands – both of whom have already qualified.
The Lionesses however say they are confident of ending the group phase on a high with an emphatic victory.
If they crash out, Africa’s hopes will depend on Nigeria who are also counting on luck to make it to the Round-of-16 stage after three points from three games. South Africa the other African side are already out of the tournament.
Nigeria banking hopes on luck
“The Super Falcons bowed narrowly to the hosts but they produced a glorious showing. They will wait for the outcome of games in the other groups to confirm their place in the last 16,” the official Twitter handle wrote after Monday night’s 1 – 0 loss to France.
The goal was, however, without controversy as a replayed spot kick proved to be the decider of a game the Nigerians had to at least draw to secure a place in the knock out stage.
The French side were awarded a penalty on the 74th minute mark. They failed to convert but the referee ordered a retake after the goalie was penalized for going off her line.
On the second attempt, the French player Renard converted the only goal of the game with Nigeria holding on with ten-men after a player was dismissed for the foul that gave the French the penalty.
Breakdown of Nigerian stats at 2019 Women’s World Cup
Games played: Three
Goals scored: Two (against South Korea)
Goals conceded: Four
Points gained: Three
Match Scores: 0 – 3 vs. Norway, 2 – 0 vs. South Korea, 0 – 1 vs. France.
South Africa hammered by rampant Germans
South Africa confirmed their exit from the tournament with a 4 – 0 loss to two-time champions Germany. The Banyana Banyana became the first team to officially exit the tournament.
Incidentally they are the only team in Group B to have failed to secure even a point in the group games.
The scored one goal through talisman Kgatlana in the opening game against Spain. They, however, conceded eight times. Three to Spain, one to China and four against Germany.
Breakdown of South Africa’s stats at 2019 Women’s World Cup
Nigeria aim for qualification, SA aim to end on a high
Nigeria’s Super Falcons hold Africa’s best chance of progressing to the next stage of the tournament but they have to first secure at least a point against hosts France later today. They have three points from beating South Korea despite an opening day loss to Norway.
On the other hand, South Africa will be playing solely for pride against Germany given that the Banyana Banyana are already out of contention with two losses – to China and Spain.
The third African team will only take to the field on Thursday as Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses line up against New Zealand in their final game. They have also their two games – to Canada and the Netherlands.
Final fixtures for African sides
With virtually extinguished qualification chances for Cameroon’s Lionesses and South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, Nigeria’s Super Falcons remain the brightest chance of an African team progressing.
But they also have to come up against a very tough opponent in the hosts, France, who have already booked their place in the knockout rounds.
Here is the full itinerary for Africa’s next three games:
South Africa vs. Germany
Monday June 17 at Stade Oceane, Montpellier
Nigeria vs. France
Monday June 17 at Roazhon Park, Rennes
Cameroon vs. New Zealand
Thursday June 20 at Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
Our stars to watch – have each scored so far
- South Africa’s Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana, reigning African Player of the Year
- Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala, three-time African Player of the Year
- Cameroon’s Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene
Cameroon fail on must-win Dutch mission
Cameroon took to the pitch on Saturday for their second game of the tournament, taking on European champions, Netherlands at the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes.
The Indomitable Lionesses lost their second game by three goals to one after losing their opening game to Japan.
The Dutch took the lead after which Cameroon drew parity through Aboudi Onguene Gabri. The teams went into the half level. But the Dutch added two goals which the Lionesses had no answers to.
They needed a win to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage alive. That hope is all but shattered.
‘‘We respect the Netherlands. But that does not mean that this Saturday, we will sit back and admire their play. We will be out to show them what strengths we have,’‘ Henriette Akaba said ahead of the fixture.
Cameroon, made their debut at the World Cup in 2015, they progressed to the round of 16, after wins over Switzerland and Ecuador.
South Africa lose to China
South Africa’s hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the World Cup were shattered by a 0-1 loss to China on Thursday.
China striker Li Ying scored the only goal in the Group B clash at the Parc des Princes, a result that ensured Germany and France progress to the second round.
‘‘They were once again magnificent. We conceded from a set-piece. We lost concentration there. We had ample opportunities,’‘ South Africa’s coach Desiree Ellis said after the game.
Debutants South Africa are now likely out of contention after two defeats, but China face a do-or-die final pool match against Spain on Monday, when they will need victory to progress given their inferior goal difference.
China had the majority of possession in the first half as the South Africans battled to keep hold of the ball, their wayward passing inviting pressure from the Asian side.
The Banyana Banyana’s final game will be against Germany in Montpellier.
Nigeria beat South Korea
The Super Falcons took a first half lead against South Korea in Grenoble when the opponents scored an own-goal thanks to Korea’s Kim Doyeon.
After resumption of the game, Nigeria looked the better side of the two teams and translated their work into a second goal with a huge effort from Asisat Oshoala, increasing the tally to two.
The team held on to the lead and ended the game with three points and a clean sheet after taking three from Norway in their first game. The Super Falcons will now look to the final fixture against France.
They became the first African side to bag three points. South Africa who play tomorrow were beaten 3 – 1 by Spain whiles Cameroon lost narrowly to Canada 1 – 0. Africa has at this stage conceded seven and score three.
Nigeria suffers injury blow
The BBC is reporting of some bad news in the Nigerian camp. Veteran defender Faith Michael has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament through injury.
The 32-year-old was stretchered off following a clash with team-mate goalkeeper Oluehi during their 3-0 opening defeat to Norway.
The Super Falcons will now have to attend to Wednesday’s make or break fixture against South Korea without her services.
Match Day: Nigeria takes on Korea after Norway loss
In the city of Grenoble’s Stade de Alpes, Nigeria’s Super Falcons will be looking to do better as they come up against Korea in their second fixture at the tournament.
The first leg drabbing of 3 – 0 at the hands of Norway makes this tie even more crucial given that their final tie will be against hosts, France.
Meanwhile, France plays Norway in NIce today with Germany Spain finishing the day’s set of games. South Africa who lost to Spain will be playing tomorrow.
Match Report: Cameroon’s narrow loss to Canada
Cameroon, Africa’s third representative at the competition failed to take a point off Canada at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier.
The Lionesses succumbed to a 1 – 0 defeat conceding the goal in the latter stages of the first hald.
Cameroon’s Michaela Abam described the fixture as “the day we’ve all been waiting for…to start this journey finally. We ask for all Cameroonians around the world for your continuous support as we continue on this marathon run in this tournament.”
Super Falcons of Nigeria
Nigeria, are the reigning African champions and are hoping to better their record at the Women’s World Cup and go all the way to the July 7 final.
The nine-time African champions having fallen to Norway will now have to reset their tactics in upcoming fixtures against hosts France and Korea Republic.
Banyana Banyana of South Africa
South Africa, who are featuring at the Women’s World Cup for the first time, are the rising star of the continent.
The Banyana Banyana have the reigning African player of the year, Thembi Kgatlana, who was the top-scorer at th Nations Cup (AWCON 2018) last year. The runners-up at AWCON 2018, have to face two-time champions Germany and China after the Spain pain.
Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon
Cameroon secured their place at the World Cup by beating Mali in the third place play-off at AWCON2018 which took place in Ghana earlier this year.
They are in Group E and are billed to slug it out with European champions Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand.
- 1991, year first tournament held
- 3 times, record champions USA have won
- $30m, prize money at 2019 tournament
- 24, number of teams at France 2019
- 3, number of African teams at tournament
- 9, stadiums and cities hosting matches
- 15, record goals scored at the World Cup (by Brazil’s Marta)
- France, hosts this year
- Quarter-finals, highest stage reached by African team (Nigeria)
Match Report: South Africa’s bright start cut short by rampant Spain
Jennifer Hermoso netted two second-half penalties and substitute Lucia Garcia added a last-minute goal as Spain came from behind to beat South Africa 3-1 at the women’s World Cup on Saturday.
Hermoso tucked away spot-kicks in the 69th and 82nd minutes to give Spain a winning start to their Group B campaign after South Africa, in their maiden appearance at the finals, took a surprise first-half lead.
The first penalty came after a handball by South Africa captain Janine van Wyk and the second after follow through tackle by full back Nothando Vilakazi on Garcia which earned Vilakazi a second yellow card and a dismissal.
South Africa were on for a shock win after Thembi Kgatlana struck a powerful shot from the corner of the penalty area over the head of Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos in the 25th minute.
The goal came after the South Africans had weathered Spain’s early dominance with desperate defending and then began to look threatening on the counter-attack.
African Women’s Footballer of the Year Kgatlana could have made it 2-0 but fluffed a tap-in opportunity at the back post in the 57th minute, not long after Hermoso had come close to an equaliser by striking the crossbar.
But Spain’s superior fitness saw them dominate the last half hour and there were other chances for a more commanding scoreline.
Garcia’s goal came from a ball straight down the middle of the pitch as she outsprinted the defence.
Match Report: African champions, Nigeria, cut to size by Norway
Ada Hegerberg was not needed as Norway kicked off their women’s World Cup Group A campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Nigeria on Saturday.
Without Ballon d’Or winner Hegerberg, who quit international football in 2017 due to a dispute with her home federation, the 1995 champions relied on goals by Guro Reiten, Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland and an own goal by Osinachi Phale to prevail.
The result put Norway in second place in Group A behind hosts France, who thrashed South Korea 4-0 on Friday in the opening game of the month-long tournament in Paris.
Reiten put Norway in front after 17 minutes when she volleyed home from a corner.
Utland doubled the tally with a powerful shot from close range after being set up by Reiten in the 34th.
Three minutes later, three-times African champions Nigeria were completely overwhelmed as Ohale deflected Isabell Herlovsen’s cross into her own goal.
Norway next face France in Nice on Wednesday while Nigeria take on South Korea in Grenoble the same day.