• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Super Falcons face Rep of Ireland for Last 16 World Cup spot

Super Falcons

The Super Falcons of Nigeria will later this morning go up against the Republic of Ireland in the ongoing 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The Super Falcons, currently ranked 40th by FIFA in world football, will play against the Republic of Ireland women, ranked 22nd by FIFA, in their last Group B match.

While the Ireland women appear to be out of contention with two losses from two matches, the Super Falcons have been up against Canada (7th) and Australia (10th) with one win and a draw.

However, with former Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw in charge, the Republic of Ireland will be playing for pride against the former African champion.

While Nigeria’s Super Falcons are looking forward to the knockout stage, Monday’s match will be the end of the road for the already-eliminated Ireland.

The nine-time African champion must avoid defeat against Ireland to set a new milestone as the first team from the continent to go through the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage unbeaten.

However, there are growing concerns about possible suspension hovering over key members of the team like Asisat Oshoala, Oluwatosin Demehin, and Michelle Alozie, who are currently on the caution list.

A yellow card for any girls in today’s encounter would spell trouble, potentially rendering them unavailable for the subsequent game.

Read also FG tasks Super Falcons on sustaining performance at World Cup

The Super Falcons are in a great situation ahead of their last group game. The Nigerian ladies will secure a coveted spot in the Round of 16 if they earn at least one point in the encounter against the Republic of Ireland.

“We are very positive and looking forward to the match. The mood in camp is great and everyone is in high spirits. The win against Australia has given us the belief and the confidence to face any team. We will play for a win.

“We want Nigerians worldwide to continue to support us and believe in the team. That alone gives us great motivation. We have won one match and drawn one. We want to set the record of not losing any match in the group phase and topping our group,” Onome Ebi, Super Falcons captain, said ahead of Monday’s clash.

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.

“We know we still have a job; we are not deterred. We go in there and play for a win,” Ebi added.

The Falcons, top of the pool with four points, take on the ‘Girls in Green” on Monday night starting from 8 pm Australia time (11 am Nigeria time).