Pressure mounted on the United States camp, after they were held 0-0 by Sweden in their second group outing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The US eves met the challenge in their own style by outplaying Nigeria 1-0 to win the Group D on Tuesday at at B.C. Place Stadium in front of a sell-out crowd of 52,193. U.S. won their opener against Australia 3-1. The two-time champions will now play their round of 16 game on Monday against a third place group finisher to be determined on Wednesday. The Super Falcons were eliminated from the World Cup after losing two consecutive games against Australia and the U.S.
Nigerian defense’s vulnerability in set pieces in the previous games of the tournament was carefully jotted down in U.S. coach’s notebook. Megan Rapinoe essayed an in-swinging corner and Abby Wambach ran to to far post to meet it with a left footed volley to score the lone goal of the game.
“We knew set pieces may be an issue with Nigeria,” Coach Jill Ellis said.
Wambach scored once in the group league games in the previous three editions of the Women’s World Cup. Wambach was not a regular starter in the U.S. line-up in the tournament and didn’t feature in the goalless draw against Sweden. This was her 183rd international goal in a long illustrious career. It was also her 14th World Cup goal, as she’s just one behind Brazil’s Marta, the topper in the list. U.S. though couldn’t increase the margin, despite the Nigerians playing one woman down for the last 21 minutes.
“I’d love to find the back of the net, but I’m pleased we’ve gotten chances,” Ellis said. She made several changes in the starting line-up for the third game, as Morgan and Wambach came in replacing Sydney Leroux and Christen Press.