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Women’s World Cup: Nigeria looks to upset Norway in opener

Women’s World Cup: Nigeria looks to upset Norway in opener
A view of Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. The Women's World Cup opens Friday in France. (Robert Cianflone / Getty Images)

What to watch for in soccer on Saturday:

GROUP A: NORWAY VS. NIGERIA

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Where: Stade Aguste-Delaune, Reims.

Time: Noon PDT.

TV: Ch. 11, Universo.

The buzz: Nigeria is the only African country to have played in every Women’s World Cup, but it has advanced past the first round just once. Norway also qualified for all eight tournaments, winning once and getting to the quarterfinals four other times. But that’s ancient history. The team hasn’t advanced past the round of 16 since 2007 and with star attacker Ada Hegerberg sitting out the World Cup in a dispute with the Norwegian soccer federation, which didn’t win a game — or score a goal — in the 2017 Euros, looks vulnerable.

GROUP B: GERMANY VS. CHINA

Where: Roazhon Park, Rennes.

Time: 9 a.m. PDT.

TV: FS1, Telemundo.

The buzz: China, which won just one of five matches against World Cup teams since January, opens the tournament against second-ranked Germany and Dzsenifer Marozsan, one of the best players on the planet. Germany, a two-time world champion, is not the dominant team it once was, having lost losing six starters from its 2015 team including Celia Sasic, the tournament’s leading scorer in Canada. It is good enough to make a deep run this summer, however. And with Spain next on its group-play schedule, it can’t afford a stumble here.

SPAIN VS. SOUTH AFRICA

Where: Stade Oceane, Le Havre

Time: 9 a.m. PDT

TV: Ch. 11, Telemundo

The buzz: South Africa, making its Women’s World Cup debut, comes into the tournament winless in 2019, having gone 0-6-3 against a challenging slate of opponents. That’s likely left the team — at No. 49, the second-worst-ranked team in France — wondering if it can compete. Spain, meanwhile, comes into its second World Cup with high expectations and an experienced roster featuring 10 players off Barcelona’s La Liga team.

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