Best known for scoring goals with her head, it was Abby Wambach’s goal with her feet that helped guide the United States to a 1-0 victory over Nigeria at BC Place in Vancouver Tuesday night to give the American’s a first-place finish in Group D.
The goal was Wambach’s 14th career World Cup goal moving her within one of Brazil forward Marta for most all-time. It was also the 35-year-old forward’s first goal in this World Cup having squandered a number of clear chances in the previous two games.
The goal came right on the brink of halftime and proved to be all the U.S. needed as it held Nigeria to seven shots and just two on target.
A red card in the 69th minute for defender Sarah Nnodim also didn’t help the Super Falcons’ chances as they finished at the bottom of the group with one point despite an exciting draw against Sweden to open the tournament.
Nigeria was not without its moments, however.
After a dominant opening 25 minutes from the United States was weather by the Super Falcons’ defense, Nigeria began to grow in confidence and challenge defenders on the dribble something it did exceptionally well against Sweden.
But after a corner kick from midfielder Megan Rapinoe was buried by an unguarded Wambach at the back post that belief quickly turned into frustration.
By the time Nnodim received her second yellow card, Nigeria already had four to its name while the U.S. also had plenty of scoring chances. The most notable came in to start the second half when defender Ali Krieger whipped in a dangerous cross to the feet of forward Alex Morgan. With only the keeper to beat, Morgan attempted to squeeze the shot underneath but Precious Dede did well to block the attempt.
The United States created some chances after that, but didn’t show much urgency in what was a physical game overall.
Next Up: Nigeria has been eliminated after finishing last in the group while the United States face Colombia—the third place team from Group F—on June 22 in Edmonton.
Nigeria (0-1-2; 1 point) vs. United States (2-1-0; 7 points)
June 16, 2015 — BC Place, Vancouver, Canada
Scoring by Period 1 2 F
Nigeria 0 0 0
United States 1 0 1
USA: Abby Wambach –45’
NIG: Sarah Nnodim (yellow card) 38’
NIG: Onome Ebi (yellow card) 43’
NIG: Josephine Chukwunonye (yellow card) 60’
NIG: Ngozi Okobi (yellow card) 68′
NIG: Sarah Nnodim (second yellow card) (red card) 69’
NIG: Precious Dede,Onome Ebi, Josephine Chukwunonye, Sarah Nnodim, Ngozi Ebere, Esther Sunday (Halimatu Ayinde, 50’), Ngozi Okubi, Evelyn Nwabuoku, Francisca Ordega (Cecilia Nku, 77’), Asisat Oshoala, Courtney Dike (Desire Oparanozie, 50’)
USA: Hope Solo, Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday, Megan Rapinoe (Shannon Box, 74’), Tobin Heath (Christie Rampone, 80’), Alex Morgan (Sydney Leroux, 66’), Abby Wambach
Australia 1, Sweden 1
In a game that would decide the runner-up in Group D, Australia tied Sweden, 1-1, in Edmonton, Alberta, on Tuesday to see the Aussies advance past the group stages for the third consecutive World Cup.
Forward Lisa De Vanna opened things up for Australia in the 5th minute following a left-footed goal off a breakaway before Sweden’s No. 10 Sofia Jakobsson responded in the 15th minute with a left-footed strike of her own from outside the penalty box.
The team’s fought an even battle after that, with Sweden holding a slight edge in possession and shots on target but neither was able to find the breakthrough.
Next Up: Australia finishes group play with four points with the tie and face Group E winners Brazil in Moncton June 21. Sweden, meanwhile, was left to sweat it out managing just three points on three ties but qualified over fellow third place finishers Thailand and Costa Rica on goal difference. However, Sweden won’t have much to celebrate as it faces the number one team in the world, Germany, June 20 in Ottawa.
Australia (1-1-1; 4 point) vs. Sweden (0-3-0; 3 points)
June 16, 2015 — Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Canada
Scoring by Period 1 2 F
Australia 1 0 1
Sweden 1 0 1
AUS: Lisa De Vanna –5’
SWE: Sofia Jakobsson –15’
AUS: Lydia Williams,Laura Alleway, Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Alanna Kennedy, Elise Kellond-Knight, Emily van Egmond, Katrina Gorry (Tameka Butt, 85’), Lisa De Vanna (Larissa Crummer, 63’), Kyah Simon (Michelle Heyman, 72’), Samantha Kerr
SWE: Hedvig Lindahl, Nilla Fischer, Amanda Illestedt, Jessica Samuelsson, Elin Rubensson (Sara Thunebro, 67’), Lisa Dahlkvist, Sofia Jakobsson, Lina Nilsson (Kosovare Asllani, 74’), Caroline Seger, Lotta Schelin, Therese Sjogran