France is looking to finish off their Group A matches in style with a victory against Nigeria that would give them a perfect start to the 2019 Women’s World Cup on home soil, according to CBS Sports. Having already defeated Norway and South Korea, France will be favored against a Nigeria team that was originally considered to be the weakest in the group but has proven its doubters wrong and will have a lot to play for itself. While France is expected to progress to the Round of 16 unless they experience a historically disastrous result, this game is a must-win for Nigeria who may need other results to go their way if their journey is to continue.
After their victory against Norway on Matchday Two, France has removed any doubt that the pressure of playing in front of a home audience has had any effect on the team. The French team isn’t expected to take their foot off of the gas in this matchup and ensure that they top the group and control their destiny. So far in the group stages, France has shown no visible weakness, featuring a capable and consistent attack along with a stout defense that has conceded only a single goal. While they are expected to put on a show at Roazhon Park in Rennes for their fans, there is always the risk that France may have one eye on the knockout stages against a desperate Nigeria.
Nigeria’s relatively surprising victory over South Korea breathed new life into the team after its 3-0 defeat against Norway erased much of the hope that they had entered the tournament with. While an upset against France may be too much of an ask even if it wasn’t played on French soil, Nigeria still would have a chance of sneaking through into the knockout stages if it maintains one of the best third-place records. However, that would mean that a team that has been celebrated for its entertaining attack style will have to play in the style of a defensive slugfest in order to prevent an excessive goal difference from being the reason for their elimination. Nigeria did just hold South Korea goalless in their last match and have already proven many of its critics wrong, so while France will be a much more difficult task, there is cause for the Nigerian women to have some hope.
Date: Monday, June 17
Time: 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET
TV Info: Fox (U.S.), BBC Four (UK)