A penalty from Eugenie Le Sommer was enough to see FIFA Women's World Cup hosts France beat Norway 2-1 on Wednesday at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.
The home side were frustrated for long spells in the first half, as Norway proved to be resolute opposition.
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That changed immediately in the second period, as within a minute of the restart Amel Majri fizzed a brilliant cross into the area for Valerie Gauvin to turn home. Norway were back on terms in the 56th minute, though, when Wendie Renard inexplicably turned the ball into her own net under no pressure.
Despite the calamity, France were able to rally again, and when Marion Torrent was deemed to have been fouled in the penalty area after a VAR check, Le Sommer hammered home what proved to be the winner.
Having dominated South Korea in the competition curtain-raiser, it was anticipated this encounter would be a much more challenging fixture for the host nation.
It proved to be exactly that in the first 45 minutes, as Norway were able to showcase their defensive organisation and aggression out of possession. Rory Smith of the New York Times noted that France adopted a direct style of football early in the game:
Kadidiatou Diani was lively going forward for France and caused problems with her delivery into the penalty area. Meanwhile, Norway did scamper forward on a couple of occasions too, with Ingrid Syrstad Engen going close.
Despite the lack of goals, Oliver Holt of the Mail on Sunday praised the quality of the players on show:
Within a minute of the match restarting, there was something for the home fans to cheer, as France took the lead.
Gauvin still had a lot to do when she ran on to Majri's cross, but she struck the ball sweetly with her left foot from close range to make it 1-0, much to the delight of the capacity crowd at the Allianz Riviera Stadium, per Match of the Day:
France's lead would only last eight minutes, though, as the otherwise assured Renard produced a moment of madness.
The defender appeared in total control of the situation, as a tame cross was put into the area from the Norway left. However, Renard prodded a foot out at the ball and inadvertently turned it into the corner of the goal, with no Norway player in sight:
The atmosphere in the stadium did fizzle out after such a peculiar moment, but France were back on the front foot after they steadied themselves.
Following a flurry of pressure, the match official stopped play to check for a possible VAR penalty decision. After consulting the footage, Engen was deemed to have caught Torrent, and the referee pointed to the spot.
From 12 yards, it was no surprise to see Le Sommer slam home her effort, keeping up her brilliant form:
Norway were unable to muster much of a response following that setback and were aggrieved at the decision to award the penalty.
France will be delighted with their start to the competition and pleased to have come through a tough test on Wednesday. Next up for them in Group A will be Nigeria on Monday, while Norway face South Korea, knowing a win should be enough to put them into the knockout stages on the same day.