Ada Hegerberg was not needed as Norway kicked off their women’s World Cup Group A campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Nigeria at the Stade Auguste-Delaune on Saturday night.
Without Ballon d’Or winner Hegerberg, who quit international football in 2017 due to a dispute with her home federation, the 1995 champions relied on goals by Guro Reiten and Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland.
Also an own goal by Osinachi Ohale helped the Europeans prevail.
The result put Norway in second place in Group A behind hosts France, who thrashed South Korea 4-0 on Friday in the opening game of the month-long tournament in Paris.
The last two Group A teams, Norway and Nigeria, played in Saturday’s final match. Ranked No. 12, Norway have qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup since the tournament’s inception. They were runners up to the US in 1991 and winners of the 1995 tournament.
Nigeria have also qualified for every Women’s World Cup. However, the No. 38 ranked “Super Falcons” have only advanced from the group stage once in 1993, falling to Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Reiten put Norway in front after 17 minutes when she volleyed home from a corner.
Utland doubled the tally with a powerful shot from close range after being set up by Reiten in the 34th.
Three minutes later, nine-time African champions Nigeria were completely overwhelmed as Ohale deflected Isabell Herlovsen’s cross into her own goal.
Nigeria next face South Korea in Grenoble on Wednesday while Norway take on France in Nice the same day.