Here's a video of the only goal of the game:
Recap: The United States made it seven points from a possible nine to achieve its objective of winning the “group of death, and secure, in theory, a more straightforward route to the quarterfinals. Wambach’s goal just before halftime was enough to beat Nigeria on the back of a second successive clean sheet and another fine defensive showing against a potentially dangerous Nigeria team. But the lack of fluency going forward remains for Jill Ellis’ squad and the failure to put away a Nigeria team that played with 10 women for the final 20 minutes will surely be a frustration.
Alex Morgan made her first start of the competition and had some lively moments, while also looking understandably rusty. Meanwhile, Wambach again looked a little off-key other than her goal and Sydney Leroux struggled after coming on. Ellis has changed her forward and wide midfield options in each game, but so far Megan Rapinoe remains the one consistent attacking threat. It’s a case of job done for the U.S. thus far, but there will surely have to be significant improvement if it is to deliver the country its first World Cup trophy since 1999. Next will be a Round of 16 match next Monday in Edmonton.
94 mins: And there’s the full-time whistle. The USA beats Nigeria 1-0 in Vancouver and goes onto the Round of 16 as group winners, while Nigeria goes out after finishing bottom of Group D.
90 mins: Just three minutes of injury time now to be played.
89 mins: Little of note happening in the closing stages. Nigeria is on its way out with something of a whimper, while the U.S. is heading through as group winners despite again failing to hit its stride.
83 mins: Boxx hits a shot well wide from 25 yards. The U.S. still unable to put Nigeria away.
80 mins: And now the U.S. makes its final switch, as 39-year-old Christie Rampone is introduced for Tobin Heath.
76 mins: Oh, big chance for 10-woman Nigeria to equalize. Francisco Ordega had a free shot from a pull-back from the right, but her shot was blocked in front of goal. And seconds later, Ordega is replaced by Cecilia Nku for Nigeria’s final substitution.
75 mins: The U.S. makes its second change as Megan Rapinoe is replaced by veteran defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx.
69 mins: Now Sarah Nnodim earns a yellow card for a foul on Leroux on the edge of the box, and that’s her second caution of the match, and she's off. The U.S. will have a player advantage for the final 20 minutes or so.
68 mins: Nigeria’s Ngozi Akobi earns a yellow card after a poor tackle from behind.
66 mins: While it leads 1-0, the U.S. will be eager to get that second goal in order to sew up top spot in the group and a match with a third-placed team in the Round of 16.
65 mins: And the U.S. now makes its first change, with Morgan, who perhaps surprisingly lasted 65 minutes on her first start back, being replaced by Sydney Leroux.
62 mins: Morgan with a big chance from point-blank range after a fine cross by Ali Krieger, but Dede is able to come out and smother the ball. On a couple of occasions Morgan has looked perhaps a little hesitant, understandably after two months out injured.
59 mins: Nasty clash of heads between Wambach and Josephine Chukwunonye as the Nigerian defender goes right into the back of her opponent and earns a yellow card. It means she will miss the Round of 16 match, if Nigeria can somehow turn this match around.
55 mins: A nervy moment for the U.S. as Desire Oparanozie, just on as a substitute, sends a free-kick just over Hope Solo’s crossbar.
51 mins: And there’s a sign of Nigeria’s need for goals, making two substitutions early in the second half. Halimatu Ayinde and Desire Oparanozie on for Esther Sunday and Courtney Dike.
50 mins: Remember that Nigeria has to win this game to have any chance of moving onto the Round of 16, so it will surely have to go increasingly on the attack as the second half goes on.
47 mins: Chance for Morgan at the start of the second half. After using her pace to get in behind the Nigeria defense, her shot was saved by Dede.
Here's a vine of that Wambach goal on the stroke of halftime to put the U.S. 1-0 up on Nigeria.
45 mins: And immediately following the goal the whistle goes for halftime. The perfect way for the U.S. to go into the interval after being shut out for nearly 135 minutes at this World Cup.
More on the goal: Rapinoe delivered a good corner to the back post and Wambach met it with an unstoppable volley into the net from six yards. Having missed chances in both previous games in the tournament, it was a fine way for the 35-yearold to open her account at this World Cup.
45 mins: Goal USA! Abby Wambach makes it 1-0.
43 mins: Onome Ebi earns a yellow card after a cynical foul on Rapinoe as she sprinted clear down the right flank.
42 mins: The U.S. is continuing to have plenty of set-piece opportunities, but coach Jill Ellis will surely be frustrated that the team is failing to make them count.
39 mins: Morgan just unable to get to a through ball quickly enough to send the ball across goal, with Nigeria’s goalkeeper coming rushing out to block.
36 mins: Another chance for the U.S. from a set-piece. Lloyd this time unable to pounce on the end of a flicked on free-kick.
34 mins: Nigeria lucky to escape not conceding a penalty, with Rapinoe’s cross clearly coming off a defender’s arm while away from her body.
33 mins: Rapinoe again tests Dede with a shot from outside the box, once more seeing the Nigeria goalkeeper turn the ball behind.
28 mins: After a good opening for the U.S., frustration may now be starting to creep in having failed to get the early breakthrough and with Nigeria now posing more of a threat.
25 mins: it really was a fine intervention by Johnston to get back after initially being beaten for pace. The 23-year-old is impressing again after her excellent showing against Sweden.
24 mins: Huge opening for Nigeria. The African champions show the threat of their pace up front, with Oshoala running in behind Johnston, but the U.S. defender manages to do enough to prevent her getting a clean shot on goal.
20 mins: Carli Lloyd is playing far deeper than she has in the first two games of the tournament, allowing Lauren Holiday, who has looked uncomfortable as the holding midfielder, more license to go forward.
17 mins: Nigeria under pressure again, this time with goalkeeper Precious Dede forced to turn Megan Rapinoe’s shot wide.
17 mins: A sight of goal for Wambach after Heath’s fine through ball, but the offside flag was raised, this time correctly.
15 mins: Big chance let slip by Tobin Heath. A cross was allowed to travel all the way to her at the back post, but she let the ball squirm away from her.
13 mins: Fox’s referee specialist, who’s had the benefit of several replays, opines that the U.S. goal should have stood, with Johnston behind Wambach when the header was played toward her. It did look that way initially.
12 mins: Real chance for Nigeria with their first notable attack. Courtney Dike was allowed too much time in the box by Julie Johnston, but, after she elected not to shoot, Hope Solo was able to make a comfortable save from Oshoala’s effort.
10 mins: Again, though, that opportunity for the U.S. came about after a high ball sent into the area. Nigeria really struggling in the early going.
8 mins: The U.S. has a goal ruled out for offside, with Julie Johnston finishing from close range but only after the flag was raised. Difficult to tell on the initial replay whether that was the correct call.
5 mins: Already early on, the U.S. has taken every opportunity to send set-pieces into the penalty area. Against Sweden in its opening match, Nigeria really struggled defending high balls into the box.
4 mins: Nigeria has been happy to sit back so far, allowing the U.S. to have plenty of possession in deep areas.
1 min: And the match is underway, with the U.S. immediately going on the attack and Morgan being called for offside.
7:53 p.m. EDT: The players are now out on the field, ready for the two national anthems at BC Place in Vancouver.
7:50 p.m. EDT: The other news from that U.S. lineup is the presence of Tobin Heath for her first start of the competition. The 27-year-old midfielder replaces Morgan Brian.
7:37 p.m. EDT: And here’s the Nigeria lineup, led by Evelyn Nwabuoku and with Asisat Oshoala one of the players to watch in attack.
â€” The NFF (@thenff) June 16, 2015
7:35 p.m. EDT: Just 25 minutes until kickoff, so let’s run down the team lineups. The big news for the U.S. is that Alex Morgan comes in foe her first start of the tournament, alongside Abby Wambach, who returns after starting on the bench against Sweden.
â€” U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) June 16, 2015
Preview: The United States women’s soccer team will play its final match of the World Cup group stage on Tuesday when taking on Nigeria at BC Place in Vancouver. Following a 3-1 victory over Australia and a scoreless tie with Sweden thus far in Canada, the U.S. sits top of Group D heading into the concluding round of games.
A place in the Round of 16 is almost secured, with it requiring a defeat and other results to go against the U.S. for the team to miss out on progressing. Still a win that would guarantee first place in the so-called “group of death” would likely give USA a much kinder opponent in the first knockout round. Top spot would mean taking on a team that finishes third in another group, while second place would see Jill Ellis’ team going up against regular foes Brazil. And dropping to third may even lead to having to get past hosts Canada or the world’s top-ranked team, Germany.
The U.S. will be strong favorites to get the victory it requires over the African champions, but not all has gone smoothly so far for the world’s second-ranked team. Aiming to win the country’s first World Cup since 1999, the U.S. has struggled to get going in attack, leading to veteran striker Abby Wambach to blame the artificial turf for the team’s problems. The absence from the starting lineup of star forward Alex Morgan has arguably been a more pressing issue, however. Morgan has been limited to just two short substitute appearances so far as she makes her way back from two months on the sidelines due to a knee injury. However, Ellis has hinted that she may be in line for her first start on Tuesday.
Going up against the U.S. will be a Nigeria team that needs to take all three points in order to have a chance of making it out of the group. Yet the world’s 33rd-ranked team shouldn’t be written off having given Sweden a real scare in an opening 3-3 draw before falling 2-0 to Australia.
Check back here once the match gets underway at 8 p.m. EDT for live score updates and video highlights.