Germany’s Alexandra Popp was making her 100th international appearance when she scored against Nigeria only to see the referee Yoshimi Yamashita calling for a video review. The call was to see whether Popp’s teammate, Svenja Huth, was offside and blocking Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s view.
After the video review, it was determined that Huth was not offside, and the goal counted. However, several minutes later, play was again stopped to review if Evelyn Nwabuoko had fouled Lina Magull. That call also ruled in favour of Germany, and a penalty kick was awarded. Popp, though the use of a translator said,
“I was a bit irritated to be honest. Otherwise, I would have asked myself why we were using this technology, so it was quite obvious in the pictures.”
The 3-0 win saw Germany advancing to the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, their eighth straight appearance. Nigeria’s coach, Thomas Dennerby, said the match had a large number of interruptions adding,
“Football is also a game with a rhythm and if you break the rhythm sometimes that is not good. It’s good for the game, but I don’t think anybody really has the final solution for VAR yet.”
Team Captain Popp’s first goal came at the 20th minute mark and was followed by a goal by Sara Däbritz at the 27th mark to make it 2-0. Germany’s final goal was scored by Lea Schüller as a result of a penalty kick. Commenting on the volume of interruptions, Germany’s coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg stated,
“All the interruptions are quite difficult to handle, especially emotionally, but we tried to keep calm. Maybe they can speed up the whole process.”
Alexandra Popp said the interruptions created insecurity due to being unsure when referees would signal a video review. Adding to her comments, Popp said,
“It was a bit of insecurity throughout the match because we didn’t quite know what was assessed in a certain moment. But in general I think it’s important to have this sort of assessment.”
— FIFA Women’s World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 22, 2019
Germany’s coach, Voss-Tecklenburg, received a congratulatory call from the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel called Voss-Tecklenburg after the match saying she was very delighted. Germany, who entered the tournament ranked second, has outscored its opponents 9-0 and will next face, depending on Monday’s winner, either Canada or Sweden on the 29th of June.
The layover while waiting for the quarterfinals will give Dzsenifer Marozsán, a midfielder with Germany, the chance to heal after she broke a toe in her left foot when Germany played China. While she has managed to recover enough to play, the added time off will be a big help. Commenting on her condition, coach Voss-Tecklenburg said,
“Based on today’s physical appearance, I would say she’s able to play the next match.”
Germany won the Women’s World Cup twice, once in 2003, and the other in 2007 and have yet not to make the quarterfinals. However, the 38th ranked Nigeria is once again in the knockout phase and will join another African nation, Cameroon, who will play the knockout stage.
While Germany came out hard and dominated, Nigeria had the opportunity to reduce Germany’s 2-0 lead when Rasheedat Ajibade raced up the side and passed the ball just in front of Desire Oparanozie missing a solid chance. It didn’t help Nigeria to be without Rita Chikwelu, and Ngozi Ebere who were out due to yellow card suspensions, and that left coach Thomas Dennerby stating,
“I think we showed the whole world that Nigeria has a team that improved a lot. It’s going the right way.”