Kyah Simon scored twice to lead Australia to a 2-0 victory over Nigeria in a group stage match Friday at the Women’s World Cup.
Simon beat Nigeria goalkeeper Precious Dede on a feed from Lisa De Vanna to put the Matildas up 1-0 in the 29th minute. She then found herself unguarded in the front of the goal to put away Samantha Kerr’s arcing cross in the 68th minute.
Australia, ranked No. 10 in the world, fell 3-1 to the second-ranked United States in its Group D opener. The Matildas have been to six World Cups, with a best finish of sixth in 2007.
Nigeria, ranked No. 33, surprised fifth-ranked Sweden in the opener, coming back from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-3 tie. The perennial African champion Super Falcons have been to all seven Women’s World Cups. Their best finish was a quarterfinal appearance in 1999.
The United States played to a 0-0 tie with Sweden and former coach Pia Sundhage Friday night in one of the most anticipated matches of the group stage at the Women’s World Cup.
Abby Wambach came off the bench in the second half, but her header in the 72nd minute was popped up and over the crossbar by Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
A win would have assured the United States a spot in the knockout round as the Americans seek their third World Cup title, but first since 1999. The U.S. women advanced to the final four years ago in Germany, but fell to Japan on penalty kicks.
The United States, ranked No. 2 in the world, has one more group stage match, on Tuesday in Vancouver, British Columbia, against Nigeria. Sweden heads to Edmonton, Alberta, for its final group match with Australia. The monthlong tournament, with an expanded field of 24 teams, is being played across six Canadian cities.