The 2019 Women’s World Cup began on Friday, June 7th with France beating South Korea. Nigeria lost their opening match to Norway. On Wednesday, June 12th, it was time for the second round of the group stage.
Nigeria took on South Korea while France played against Norway. The Super Falcons game was scheduled for the afternoon kick-off at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble. After the opening game loss, Nigeria’s head coach made three changes in total.
Coach Thomas Dennerby decided on the following starting line-up: Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal, Chidinma Okeke, Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale and Ngozi Ebere in defence, Rita Chikwelu, Ngozi Okobi and Chinaza Uchendu in the middle while Francisca Ordega, Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala completed the first eleven.
The Super Falcons started the game well and nine minutes into the match they had their first good opening. Ordega put in a cross from which landed on Oparanozie’s head, but the Korean goalkeeper managed to punch the ball away.
The Korean women had a chance of their own shortly after. Lee Geummin took a shot, but the ball went right into the hands of Nnadozie in goal. South Korea had more of the ball throughout the game which meant more chances.
But Nigeria got lucky in the 29th minute when Rita Chikwelu’s pass made Kim Do-Yeon put the ball in her own net. After that, the Falcons had more confidence. Their defence did well to repel the Koreans even though they had three times as many shots on target as the Nigerians. With fifteen minutes to go, Oshoala scored to double the lead and secure an important victory.
Not only did the Super Falcons win, but they also kept a clean sheet which will please Dennerby. Young Nigerian goalkeeper Nnadozie also set a record by being the youngest ever goalkeeper to manage a clean sheet in the history of the Women’s World Cup.
In the other match of Group A, France needed a penalty in the second half to beat the tough Norwegian side. After two games, the French are top of the group with Norway and Nigeria second and third, equal on points. South Korea is last with no points so far.
The next round of games in this group is scheduled for June 17th when Nigeria will probably have to beat the hosts France to progress to the next stage. South Korea will play against Norway to try and earn at least a point in the World Cup.
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