Nigeria beaten by France in World Cup opener

Precious Dede in action for Nigeria in 2010
Nigeria keeper Precious Dede struggled to impose herself early on

Nigeria's Super Falcons have been beaten in their opening game at the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany.

They were beaten 1-0 by France in an entertaining first match of the tournament.

Marie-Laure Delie got the only goal of the game to give France a strong chance of progressing from a group which also contains the hosts Germany and Canada.

Nigeria performed well in defence and created plenty of chances but could not find the final touch.

They now find themselves bottom of the group, but coach Eucharia Uche has not given up hope of being able to make progress.

"The girls played a great game, we were just unfortunate," she said.

"We will go back and work on [our finishing] because if we had converted our chances we would have been looking at a victory."

France started brightly and Nigeria goalkeeper and captain Precious Dede was put under considerable pressure, with Louisa Necib of Lyon creating plenty of opportunities down the left.

But the Super Falcons defence did a good job of keeping the French at bay and it was 0-0 at halftime.

France finally broke the deadlock early in the second period, when a rare example of poor Nigeria defending allowed Delie to control a loose ball in the box and fire home to make it 1-0.

The Super Falcons contributed greatly to an entertaining game played in front of a decent crowd of more than 25,000 in Sinsheim.

They will now prepare to play Germany and then Canada in their remaining pool A games - Germany beat Canada 2-1 in their game on Sunday evening.