Nigeria’s adventure at the 2019 Women’s World Cup came to an end as the Super Falcons succumbed to Germany 3-0 in Grenoble, France, on Saturday.
Alexander Popp’s 20th minute strike, Sara Daebritz’s penalty seven minutes later and Lea Schuller’s 82nd minute goal ensured the Western Europeans maintained their 100 per cent record against the West Africans.
Thomas Dennerby’s side had sneaked into the last 16 in a suspense-filled fashion and headed into Saturday’s game on the back foot as the Germans swarmed over them.
Bossing possession at 69 per cent to Falcon’s 31 per cent, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s charges had more of the ball, which forced the Nigerians to sit back, absorb the pressure and then go on the counter.
With Asisat Oshoala absent, captain Desire Oparanozie filled the void, featuring in any meaningful attack, build up and goal attempt that the Falcons mustered.
But, the Germans deservedly went into the lead as Popp struck in the 20th minute from a Magull’s corner.
But, VAR controversy re-surfaced moments after the restart.
Magull hit the deck when Evelyn Nwabuoku unintentionally caught her in an attempt to clear the ball. Japanese referee Yamashita signalled a throw-in but received a message from the VAR team.
It was three minutes before Yamashita changed her decision to a spot-kick, which Dabritz put away to give the Germans a 2-0 lead.
The second half was far less eventful. Had Oparanozie timed her stretch to turn in substitute Rasheedat Ajibade’s low cross, then it would have set up a far more tense finish.
Instead, SGS Essen forward Schuller put the game beyond the reach of the Falcons with an angled strike that nestled in goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s right-hand corner.