Wambach’s goal gives US 1-0 win over Nigeria


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Abby Wambach scored late in the first half and the U.S. women’s national team went on to beat Nigeria 1-0 on Tuesday night for a first-place finish in its group at the Women’s World Cup.

It was Wambach’s 14th World Cup goal, pulling her even with Birgit Prinz for second on the all-time list behind Brazil’s Marta, who has 15.

Wambach came off the bench for the United States in the team’s last match against Sweden. Tuesday, she started up top with Alex Morgan, who was making her first World Cup start in Canada after working her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee.

The United States, ranked second in the world behind Germany, has two World Cup titles, but hasn’t won since 1999.

Four years ago in Germany, the U.S. advanced to the final but fell to Japan on penalty kicks.

The win sent the United States through as the leader of its group for the sixth time in seven Women’s World Cups. The team heads to Edmonton, Alberta, for the first match of the knockout stage. The opponent has not been determined.

Nigeria, which has won seven of nine African championships, has been to every World Cup since it started for the women in 1991. The Super Falcons were eliminated after the loss to the United States after playing to a 3-all draw with Sweden in the opener and falling 2-0 to Australia.

The U.S. opened Group D with a 3-1 victory over No. 10 Australia, before playing to a 0-0 draw with No. 5 Sweden.

Morgan hadn’t started a match since April. The speedy 25-year-old played 12 minutes as a sub in the draw with Sweden.

Wambach also came in as a sub in the match against Sweden last Friday. It was the first time she had played off the bench at a World Cup since her first in 2003.

Wambach, who didn’t score in the first two U.S. group stage matches, had never gone without a goal in the opening round in four World Cup appearances.

Australia 1, Sweden 1

Lisa De Vanna’s early goal was enough for Australia (1-1-1) to advance to the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup with a draw against Sweden (0-3-0) in Edmonton, Alberta, on Tuesday.

Japan 1, Ecuador 0

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Yuki Ogimi scored in the fifth minute and defending champion Japan beat Ecuador to become the first team to win all three of its matches in the group stage of this year’s Women’s World Cup.

Japan won Group C and will play in the round of 16 on June 23 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Brazil, which plays today, is the only other team with a chance to go 3-0 in the group stage.

Cameroon 2, Switzerland 1

Madeleine Ngono Mani came off the bench to score one of two second-half goals as Cameroon (2-0-1) became only the second African team to advance to the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup with a win over Switzerland (1-0-2) in Edmonton, Alberta, on Tuesday.

Cameroon advances as the second team from Group C, doing so in its first World Cup appearance.

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