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USWNT vs. Nigeria, 2015 World Cup: Abby Wambach's goal enough to see off Nigeria, USA win Group D

Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

The United States have won Group D at the 2015 Women's World Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over Nigeria. All the pre-game buzz surrounded Alex Morgan who returned to make her first start for the USWNT in over two months. However, it was the veteran Abby Wambach who scored the lone goal of the game to give the U.S. top spot in their group.

It was a game of two contrasting styles. The U.S. looked comfortable on the ball, knocking it around the field with ease. Nigeria on the other hand, relied on their speed and athleticism in hopes to catch the Americans on the counter-attack. The Nigerian back line played a risky high line and tried to use the offside trap as much as possible.

It almost cost them in the ninth minute when Abby Wambach broke the trap and found herself all alone in the box. Her knock down header found Julie Johnston for an easy tap-in, but the defender was ruled offside.

Johnston, who has arguably been the USWNT's best player in the tournament, made a great sliding tackle in her defensive box to deny Nigeria their first real opportunity. Nigeria's speed caught out Johnston, but she recovered to make a last ditch tackle to save a great scoring chance.

In the 34th minute the U.S. had a strong case for a penalty when Megan Rapinoe's cross into the box struck the hand of a Nigerian defender. It was a debatable sequence to whether it was ball to hand or vice versa, but a borderline call that didn't go the USA's way.

Thankfully the decision didn't haunt them. With the very last kick of the first half Wambach latched on to a Rapinoe back post corner and smashed a left-footed volley into the back of the net for a great goal. It was the striker's 14th World Cup goal pulling her within one of Brazil's Marta for the all-time lead.

The U.S. seized momentum and dominated the second half. Morgan had two great scoring chances snuffed out by the Nigerian goalkeeper before being substituted at 65 minutes. Sydney Leroux, playing in her hometown of Vancouver, replaced Morgan and gave the American attack much-needed fresh legs. Her inclusion paid off just four minutes later.

Leroux's speed was too much for Nigeria to handle. Sarah Nnodim fouled the striker just outside the box and received her second yellow card of the game. With Nigeria down to 10 players the U.S. controlled the remainder of the game only allowing a few half chances than never worried Hope Solo.

With the three points, the USA win Group D and will likely play either Colombia or England in the Round of 16 on Monday in Edmonton.