France all but secured a place in the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup after striker Valerie Gauvin marked her return with a goal against Norway.
Striker Gauvin did not start the win over South Korea after showing up late for training but scored from a cross.
The celebrations did not last – Wendie Renard finding her own net while trying to put the ball out for a corner.
Eugenie Le Sommer’s penalty sealed the points for France after Marion Torrent was fouled by Ingrid Systad Engen.
Cheered on by a crowd of 34,872 in Nice, hosts France had to dig deep to seal victory.
They top Group A with six points from two games – three ahead of second-placed Norway and third-placed Nigeria – with one group game left against Nigeria on Monday (20:00 BST).
In a high quality game, France were on course to drop points for the first time in the tournament after a calamitous own goal by Renard, who scored two against South Korea.
Attempting to put Isabell Herlovsen’s cross out for a corner, Renard instead found her own net eight minutes after France took the lead at the start of the second half.
Amel Majri’s cross found Gauvin, who got in front of Chelsea’s Maria Thorisdottir to send the partisan crowd into raptures.
Slick and inventive, Norway were certainly not fazed by the occasion.
Yet the 1995 World Cup winners finished with nothing to show for their efforts after a penalty was awarded following a video assistant referee (VAR) review when Torrent was kicked by Engen.
Le Sommer scored from the spot to join Marie-Laure Delie as France’s all-time highest Women’s World Cup scorer, with five.
Ageing France show their experience – the stats
- With an average age of 28 years and 189 days, France fielded their oldest-ever starting 11 at a Women’s World Cup tournament.
- Norway are only the second team in Women’s World Cup history to benefit from an own-goal in consecutive games in the competition, after Japan in 2015.
- Wendie Renard is the first player to score an own-goal for France at a Women’s World Cup tournament.
- Eugenie Le Sommer has scored 12 goals in her last 12 international appearances for France, including a goal in both of France’s games at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
More to follow.