Super Falcons will now have to wait on the results in the other group matches to know if they will progress to the knockout rounds of the Women’s World Cup after they fell 1-0 to hosts France tonight in Rennes.
Expectedly, France won Group A with nine points from three matches, while Norway finished second on six points on the back of a 2-1 win over Korea Republic.
Nigeria placed third on three points, but results in the other groups will now determine if they could still feature in the knockout rounds of this tournament as one of four ‘best losers’.
A dramatic twist of events late in the second half combined to deny the African champions a famous draw with one of the World Cup favourites.
VAR adjudged Ngozi Ebere to have fouled goal-bound Asseny inside the box on 74 minutes.
The former PSG of France defender was shown the red card after her second booking and Wendy Renard missed from the penalty spot only for VAR to again order a retake of the spot kick for an infringement by goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie and the Lyon defender made no mistake at the second time of asking.
The goal was a reward for France, who bombarded the Nigerian goal after the break, piling pressure after pressure for the breakthrough goal.
In the first half, the Falcons frustrated the French with a well-organised tactical game plan.
The home team enjoyed 69% of the ball possession in the first period, but still did not really test 18-year-old goalkeeper Nnadozie.
Both Ebere and Rita Chikwelu, who picked her second booking in Rennes tonight, will miss Nigeria’s next game should they still advance.