The Round of 16 clash between European champions England and nine-time African champions Super Flcons of Nigeria will be won or lost from the bench analysts have predicted.
This is so because the Super Falcons had produced a super-stroke tactics from the bench in the group stage of the tournament to edged co-host Australia 3-2, while playing out a goalless draw against Canada and Republic of Ireland reapectively.
The Brisbane encounter between Nigeria and England will be played Monday. morning by 8:30 am with Melissa Borjas from Honduras as the centre referee.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons were the first African team to qualify for the knockout stages last week from in a group that had Australia, Canada and Republic of Ireland.
However, many analysts are still in doubt of Super Falcon’s coach Randy Waldrum’s tactical ability against the tactical prowess of Serina Wiegman, one of the best female coach around the world.
She is the first coach to lead the Lionesses to a major title when England won EUFA EURO 2022 on home soil.
She is also the first coach to win back-to-back tournaments having led her native Netherlands to the EURO 2017 title five years earlier.
Wiegman is widely regarded as one of the best international coaches in the women’s game. She began her role as England head coach in September 2021.
Waldrum on the other hand is a rocky in international football having spent most of his coaching life as a Collegiate coach in the USA with a brief national experience with Trinidad and Tobago Women’s in 2014 before returning back to the USA as the Houston Dash Association football manager (2014-2017).
“I’m not very optimistic about our chances to beat England,” said Henry Okonkwo, a Lagos based sports analyst. According to him, Waldrum will have to out think and out smart Wiegman in every section of the game to upset England.
Waldrum opted to play Asisat Oshoala as a lone striker against Canada and Ireland; when it was obvious that a draw will be beneficial for Nigeria.
But, against Australia in the second group game he opted to play a 4-4-2 formation with Kanu and Onumonu striking for the nine-time African champions.
Nigerian and football fans across the world will be expecting another tactical surprice from Waldrum on Monday knowing fully well that there will be no room for excuses against the Lionesses.