Women's World Cup 2019: Contentious penalty bails out France vs. Norway

Oleh Ryan Benson 13 Jun 2019 1060
Women's World Cup 2019: Contentious penalty bails out France vs. Norway

Eugenie Le Sommer's controversial penalty bailed out Wendie Renard after a calamitous own goal, as Women's World Cup host France beat Norway 2-1 Wednesday to effectively seal a spot in the knockout phase.

The entertaining contest was unsurprisingly even after the two sides cruised to wins in their respective opening matches, but France just about did enough to leave itself on the brink of qualification, with Le Sommer's crucial spot-kick the difference.

Although the host nation struggled at times in the first half, it rode the Norway storm and took full advantage right after halftime through the lively Valerie Gauvin.

Renard put into her own net soon after, but France remained focused and Le Sommer coolly dispatched a penalty, though Norway was convinced it was harshly penalized after the spot-kick was awarded following a VAR review.

Norway enjoyed a purposeful start and went desperately close in the 14th minute, but Ingrid Syrstad Engen's near-post flick-on at a corner was crucially cleared off the line and over the crossbar by Amel Majri.

France responded and almost found the net through Gauvin soon after, but her back-heel from Kadidiatou Diani did not have enough power to beat Ingrid Hjelmseth.

Norway finished the half strongest, with Sarah Bouhaddi making a save to deny Ingrid Moe Wold, but France opened the scoring less than a minute after the interval — Gauvin meeting Majri's left-wing cross and firing beneath Hjelmseth.

A calamitous own goal courtesy of Renard eight minutes later wiped out the lead, however, as the Lyon star tapped into her own net from Isabell Herlovsen's low cross.

But Le Sommer bailed her out 18 minutes from time after Engen was adjudged to have followed through on Marion Torrent, the converted penalty leaving France with six points from two games, almost certainly enough to see the hosts into the next round.

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Ryan Benson

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