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Germany nips Nigeria to seal quarterfinal berth

Jun 30, 2011 - 9:00 PM Frankfurt, Germany (Sports Network) - Two-time defending champion Germany has sealed a spot in the knockout stage of the Women's World Cup as expected, even though it worked a little harder than anticipated.

Simone Laudehr scored in the 54th minute and Germany defeated Nigeria, 1-0, in Group A on Thursday at Commerzbank-Arena to seal a quarterfinal spot after its second match.

Germany's win also sealed France's first-ever quarterfinal spot and eliminated Nigeria and Canada. France beat Canada, 4-0, in Thursday's other Group A game.

The Germans are second in the group on goal differential to France and need a win when the teams meet Tuesday in their group finale to finish first.

Germany expected to have an easy time with Nigeria, especially after winning a friendly between the countries 8-0 late last year. But Nigeria, which lost its opener 1-0 to France, had other ideas.

Germany came close to scoring inside five minutes when Laudehr reached around a defender to poke the ball on goal from inside six yards, but Nigeria goalie Precious Dede spread out to deflect the shot.

Otherwise, Dede was untested over the remainder of the opening half as Nigeria created the more dangerous chances. Although Nigeria was unable to convert its chances, including an Ebere Orji shot that went just wide, it gave German boss Silvia Neid a lot to contemplate at halftime.

Having already inserted forward Alexandra Popp in the 31st minute for injured Melanie Behringer, Neid made no more changes to a team that was booed off the field in the first half.

Neid removed a laboring Birgit Prinz, the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history with 14 goals, for fellow forward Inka Grings in the 53rd and the lone goal was in the net just one minute later.

Celia Okoyino da Mbabi played a free kick in from the left that Grings flicked on at the near post. The ball found Popp in the box, and her shot deflected in traffic and fell to Laudehr, who fired home from 7 yards.

Laudehr's 10th international goal was a huge relief for Germany, which settled in with the lead and maintained more possession and controlled the rest of the match.

The Germans ran their World Cup unbeaten streak to 14 matches as goalie Nadine Angerer earned a shutout in her 100th international match.

Nigeria, which has only advanced past the group stage once in six appearances, plays Canada on Tuesday to wrap up its World Cup.