Women’s World Cup: Hosts France edge past Norway in Nice

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‘The perfect start’ – Gauvin gives France the lead straight after half-time

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.

France sealed victory through Eugenie Le Sommer’s penalty after Marion Torrent was fouled by Ingrid 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.

‘What was she thinking?’ – Rennard scores calamitous own goal

Amel Majri’s cross found Gauvin, who got in front of Chelsea’s Maria Thorisdottir to send the partisan crowd into raptures.

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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 Ingrid Syrstad Engen.

Le Sommer scored from the spot to save Renard’s blushes – and continue France’s 100% start to the tournament.

The top two teams in each of the six groups advance to the knockout stage – along with four best third-placed teams

More to follow.

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