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Nigeria’s women football team have crashed out of the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The Super Falcons, despite their gallant display holding the Lionesses to a barren draw after 120 minutes, lost out 4-2 on penalty kicks
Missed kicks by Desire Oparonize and Michelle Alozie proved costly as England held their nerve to win their first penalty shoot-out game in the World Cup.
Super Falcons were handed a numerical advantage late in the second half when England’s star player Lauren James was given a red card.
Unfortunately, the Super Falcons did not make their numerical advantage count and have now seen their blistering run at the World Cup come to an abrupt halt.
While England are waiting to know who they face between Colombia and Jamaica, the Super Falcons will be looking to catch the next available flight as they shift their focus to the Olympic Qualifiers.
Closely contested encounter
In a closely contested encounter, nine-time African champion, Nigeria displayed remarkable prowess despite the 2-4 penalty shoot-out defeat by England.
Despite being ranked 36 places behind England, the Super Falcons’ put up a commendable performance against their formidable opponents. From the blast of the whistle, the Super Falcons exhibited their mettle by engaging in a dynamic battle against the higher-ranked English team.
Super Falcons could have gotten in front inside the first quarter-hour when Ashley Plumptre unleashed a powerful shot from 22 yards that rattled the crossbar and was followed by another narrowly missed attempt.
The English ladies also troubled the Super Falcons but the defensive lineup, consisting of Chiamaka Nnadozie as goalkeeper and on-field captain, along with defenders Michelle Alozie, Osinachi Ohale, Oluwatosin Demehin, and Plumptre, displayed tenacity that kept the European champions at bay.
In the midfield, Halimatu Ayinde, Christy Ucheibe, and Toni Payne demonstrated remarkable control and resilience, while forwards Rasheedat Ajibade, Uchenna Kanu, and Ifeoma Onumonu showcased their skilful play.
Throughout the match, the Super Falcons maintained an unwavering resolve, containing the European champions and denying them the opportunity to reach their full potential.
England found themselves reduced to 10 players after their star player Lauren James was shown a red card just moments before the match’s conclusion at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
Seizing upon this advantage, the Super Falcons intensified their efforts, though substitute Asisat Oshoala‘s close-range shot was thwarted by goalkeeper Mary Earps.
As the match extended into extra time, the tense atmosphere culminated in a penalty shoot-out.
Both teams exhibited nerves during the initial kicks, with Desire Oparanozie’s effort veering wide to the right of Earps. The Super Falcons’ diligent defender, Michelle Alozie, also encountered an unfortunate miss.
Nevertheless, Ajibade and Ucheibe maintained their composure and found the target for Nigeria.
Chloe Kelly scored the decisive spot-kick after Beth England, Rachel Daly and Alex Greenwood also converted for the European champions
Ultimately, the Three Lionesses held their ground and secured their place in the quarter-finals with a successful penalty shoot-out that will see them confront the victor of the encounter between Colombia and Jamaica.