Women’s World Cup 2019: What to look out for as the last-16 stage gets under way

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Germany topped Group B while Nigeria finished third in Group A

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Germany’s midfield star Dzsenifer Marozsan could return as a substitute for their last-16 Women’s World Cup tie against Nigeria.

Marozsan, who won a fourth straight Champions League title with Lyon in May, broke her toe in Germany’s opening Group B win over China.

“We have to see how the foot reacts,” head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said.

“We are keeping our options open, but she will surely not be starting.”

Meanwhile, forward Alexandra Popp is in line to make her 100th appearance for Die Nationalelf. The 28-year-old Wolfsburg player made her debut for her country in 2010.

Nigeria head back to Grenoble after securing their only Group A win against South Korea at the Stade des Alpes, which enabled them to progress as one of the best third-placed teams.

However, the Super Falcons last victory over a European side at the finals arrived in 1999, against Denmark, and they are facing a fancied German side who are yet to concede in the tournament.

“Germany is definitely one of the strongest teams, they have a lot of good players and they are extremely organised,” said Thomas Dennerby, Nigeria’s head coach.

“Maybe we can have a chance if we defend well to handle the forwards they have today and sooner or later we will get our chance.

“If we score, they may get nervous and we will have a chance.”

Who’s playing?

Two-time champions Germany face Nigeria as the first match in the last-16 stage gets under way on Saturday at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble (16:30 BST).

Where can I follow the games?

BBC Sport will have live coverage of every World Cup match across TV, radio, the Red Button and online from the group stages all the way through to the final.

While coverage of Germany v Nigeria will be available live on the Red Button.

Players to watch

Germany’s Sara Daebritz bundles in opening goal
Sara Dabritz
Nationality: German Position: Midfielder Club: Paris St-Germain Age: 24

In the absence of Marozsan, Sara Dabritz has taken centre stage for Germany, weighing in with goals, and being named as the player of the match in the victories over Spain and South Africa.

The former Bayern Munich midfielder was in the German squad that claimed gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and she could yet prove to be a pivotal player in the knockout stages.

‘A brilliant counter-attacking goal’ – Oshoala doubles Nigeria’s lead
Asisat Oshoala
Nationality: Nigerian Position: Forward Club: Barcelona Age: 24

Nigeria’s hopes appear to rest firmly on the shoulders of Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, who scored in the Champions League final in May.

Noted for her pace and power, the former Liverpool and Arsenal player proved a handful for the French defence, and showcased her talent by scoring in the 2-0 win over South Korea, helping the Super Falcons to progress.

The key facts

  • Germany have won their two previous Women’s World Cup games against Nigeria, scoring five goals and conceding none in the process. They last met in the 2011 edition, with Germany winning 1-0 in the group stage.
  • Nigeria have won just one of their past 12 Women’s World Cup matches against European nations (W1 D2 L9), beating Denmark in 1999, 2-0.
  • Germany have gone three games without a win in the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup (D1 L2), after winning seven of the eight before that (L1).
  • Germany have kept three consecutive clean sheets in Women’s World Cup games, last registering a longer run of shutouts at the 2007 tournament, when they didn’t concede a single goal in their six games en route to winning the title.
  • If selected for this game, striker Alexandra Popp will make her 100th appearance for Die Nationalelf, making her only the second player in the current German squad to hit that milestone after Lena Goessling (106).

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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