NICE, France — Eugenie Le Sommer scored the winning goal from the penalty spot to lift host nation France to a 2-1 win over Norway at the Women's World Cup on Wednesday.
Then she had a special embrace for one of her teammates.
France defender Wendie Renard almost cost France the game when she turned the ball into her own net to even the match at 1-1.
Le Sommer came to the rescue and moved France to 2-0 in this tournament when she scored the winner in the 72nd minute. A relieved Renard was one of the first players to celebrate with Le Sommer.
"I knew it was hard for her," Le Sommer said. "I know Wendie well, and I know how much she can give us. She came up to me completely naturally and thanked me and I just said 'No.'"
"In the first match she scored two goals. What's most important is the group. I'm happy also for her that her mistake was rectified."
Neither goalkeeper was really tested in an entertaining first half, but France took the lead immediately after the break when Valerie Gauvin tapped in Amel Majri's cross. Gauvin had been benched at the start of France's opening 4-0 win over South Korea, reportedly because she was late to training.
Norway tied it eight minutes later when Renard knocked Isabell Herlovsen's low cross into her own net.
Renard, considered one of the best defenders in the world, appeared to be in tears as she raised her face to the sky in anguish.
"I made a huge, huge mistake but we showed our character," Renard said. "Amel was speaking to me but I couldn't really understand what she was saying. So to be safe I went to put it out for a corner but it ended up in the back of the net.
"It could have ruined the night, it could have put us in difficulty mentally but we really showed that we are ready, that we are strong."
Video review was used on Le Sommer's game-winning goal, which stood because a penalty was awarded after a high tackle by Ingrid Syrstad Engen on Marion Torrent.
"I saw the replays from afar and for me there was a contact that deserved the penalty," Le Sommer said. "If it was against us, well I don't know. ... I think the referee made the right decision. In the first match the VAR took away a goal from us, in this match it helped us get one, but what was most important was to win this match and the VAR maybe helped us, but we have to get used to this now in football."
France is three points ahead of Norway in Group A. Nigeria was also three points behind France, which is vying to become the first nation to hold both the men's and women's World Cup titles at the same time.
"It was a battle for top spot, even though we can't denigrate the last match against Nigeria," Le Sommer said. "It was a very important victory today for our preparation for the rest of the tournament."
Norway, which won the competition in 1995, is playing without Ada Hegerberg. The 2018 FIFA Ballon d'Or winner stepped down from the national team because of what she says are differences in the way the federation treats the men's and women's teams.
"We lost the match but I thought we were equal with the French," Norway coach Martin Sjogren said. "We knew that we were going to face a very good opponent and we had a good plan. I wasn't surprised by the French team — we knew they were going to be athletic with fast players and speed — but we played well and I'm very proud of how my players performed out there.
"In my book, I think we deserved a 1-1."
Germany gets another 1-0 win at World Cup, beating Spain
As Germany clung on for another 1-0 win at the Women's World Cup, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg could sense the unease in her team.
And considerable relief in edging past Spain.
So when the final whistle blew in northern France on Wednesday the coach quickly gathered her players on the field.
"There was some tension," she said. "I told my players we pushed our limits."
The way her side lost possession of the ball still grated. But Voss-Tecklenburg ultimately reminded the squad to be proud and united in the pursuit of a third world title.
The Germans are finding it far from easy going at the start of Group B, relying on Sara Däbritz's goal in the 42nd minute against the run of play to prevail against the skillful Spanish.
"In the last 15 minutes in the first half," said defender Sara Doorsoun, "we came together and said, 'OK be more self-confident.'"
Däbritz had the confidence to be in the right place to pounce.
After goalkeeper Sandra Paños couldn't keep hold of Alexandra Popp's header, Däbritz got on the end of the loose ball and bundled it into the net.
"We were playing some great football," Spain coach Jorge Vilda said through a translator, "and in the end some mistakes cost us dearly against a strong side."
Until that point, the confident passing, the intensity and much of the verve had been coming from Spain in heavy rain.
"When we got the ball they put a lot of pressure on our defense," Doorsoun said. "It was definitely tough to get the ball."
Playing in only their second World Cup, the Spanish were more than just equals to a second-ranked team that has made at least the quarterfinals in all eight editions of the FIFA tournament.
What was missing was the ability to complete well-worked moves with a goal.
When a high ball was sent to Nahikari Garcia in the 14th minute, the forward broke through the center backs. But with only goalkeeper Almuth Schult to beat, Garcia sent the ball wide.
"We showed what Spain can do on the pitch and I think the team is strengthened by our performance," said Vilda, whose side opened with a victory over South Africa. "We have to never been as close as we are now ... and we need to use this as a basis for growth."
So does Germany, which opened with the 1-0 victory over China.
"We know that we have to play better," Doorsoun said. "But mentality of the team is good."
But Germany will still be without Dzsenifer Marozsan for the final group game against South Africa as the midfielder recovers from a broken toe.
"In the difficult situations she helps out every player," Voss-Tecklenburg said, "because she doesn't lose many balls. It would have been great to have her with us. We tried to compensate her loss."
Nigeria earns 4th World Cup win, 2-0 over South Korea
Asisat Oshoala became the second Nigerian player to score in two different Women's World Cup tournaments with a late goal in a 2-0 victory over South Korea on Wednesday.
Chidinma Okeke chipped the ball past the South Korean defense in the 75th minute and Oshoala chased it down, slipped past Hwang Bo-ram and drew the keeper off her line before sliding it into an open goal from a tight angle.
Nigeria took a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute at Stade des Alpes when South Korea's Kim Do-yeon volleyed the ball into her own net.
The two own-goals so far in this tournament have both featured Nigeria, which is the first team to both score and concede an own-goal at the same Women's World Cup since the United States in 1999. Osinachi Ohale scored on her own team in Nigeria's opening Group A loss to Norway.
Oshoala, who plays for Barcelona, joined Rita Nwadike as Nigerians to score in multiple Women's World Cup tournaments.