• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Super Falcons’ herculean hurdle against Lionesses of England

Super Falcon’s herculean hurdle against Lionesses of England

The Super Falcons of Nigeria will on Monday, August 7, 2023 test might with the Lionesses of England in the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The Super Falcons will battle the Lionesses, the European champions, for a place in the quarter-final at the Women’s World Cup. The round of 16 clash is slated for 8.30 am in Brisbane, Australia.

Before reaching the knock-out stage, the Super Falcons played a goal-less draw with the Canadian women, defeated the Australian women 3-2, and rapped up their group game with the Republic of Ireland 0-0 to finish second in Group B behind co-host Australia with five points.

England on the other hand thrashed China 6-1, beat Demark, and Haiti 1-0 respectively to top group D with a maximum of nine points.

The English team is ranked fourth in FIFA Women’s ranking, while the Nigerian Women’s team is ranked 40.

The Lionesses boast of players such as Chloe Kelly, Lauren James, Lucy Bronze, Keira Walsh, and Alessia Russo among others.

The Nigerian team has in its arsenal players such as Asisat Oshoala, Rasheedat Ajibade, Michelle Alozie, Chiamaka Nnadozie, Ashleigh Plumptre, and Uchenna Kanu, among others.

Morakinyo Abodunrin, sports editor at The Nation believes that Nigerians must first and foremost commend the Super Falcons because nobody gave them the chance on paper to go that far in the tournament.

Read also: Women World Cup: Super Falcons battle ready for England, says Waldrum

Abodunrin said the Super Falcons have done really well, being in that group of death that had the co-host, Australia, the Olympic champions, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland. Everybody thought they would find it difficult to qualify from the group, but as it were they scaled through and qualified.

“We have to commend them, going to the next game, being a knockout game, it is a 50-50 game, having qualified to this level, they have nothing to lose.

 

 

I’m expecting the Falcons to throw in all they have to win the match, they have to be up and doing because the English team has much more experienced players.

On paper again England looks to be a better team with experienced players, but in football, you don’t get the result until the end of the game,” he said.

Onyebuchi Abia, a veteran sports commentator believes if the coach of the Super Falcon can organise the midfield better, the team would be able to pip the Lionesses of England and qualify for the round of eight.

“The problem area of the Nigerian team is the midfield, if the coach can draw in a winger to beef up the midfield, the Super Falcons would have the chance of beating England with at least a goal,” he said.

Bose Ibidapo, a female football fan is convinced that the feat of the Super Falcons at the World Cup stage has brought more honour and relevance to the round leather game in the country.

“I’m sure with the self-determined approach of our girls, the English ladies will not find it easy. But beyond winning is the fact that our girls have done well. I see Nigeria beating England if they adopt the same game approach they used against Australia,” she said.

Sports analysts believe the strength of the English women’s national team is in their midfield and the quality of their bench. They argue that Lauren James’ risk-taking ability can help the Lionesses continue to roar to the final stage of the World Cup, and possibly help them lift the trophy.

And that their weakness is in the number of players that could not make the team to the tournament.

Beth Mead, who won top scorer and best player awards at Euro 2022 is not in the team because she ruptured her ACL during a game for Arsenal in November.

Both Ellen White and Jill Scott are not in the team having decided to call time on their respective careers at the absolute pinnacle.

Nigeria’s run is all the more surprising given the turmoil surrounding the team prior to the tournament. The team was able to put an ongoing pay dispute behind it and qualify for the knockout stage for the third time in its history.

When the Falcons reached the knock-out rounds in the USA in 1999, the team lost to the hosts USA before defeating North Korea and Denmark to make the quarter-finals.

In 2019, when they reached the Round of 16, the nine-time African champions lost 0-3 to Norway and 0-1 to hosts France, on either side of a 2-0 defeat of South Korea, with Asisat Oshoala scoring after an own goal by the Koreans.