On Monday, June 17th Nigeria played their last group match in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. They faced off against the host country France, one of the favourites to win the tournament.
The Super Falcons lost to Norway in their opening match only to bounce back and beat South Korea in the second game of the group stage. This gave them confidence going into the encounter with France but still they were aware they had a hard task ahead of them.
Coach Thomas Dennerby fielded a strong team in a 4-3-3 formation: Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal; Chidinma Okeke, Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale and Ngozi Ebere in the back; Halimatu Ayinde, Ngozi Okobi and Rita Chikwelu in the middle with Francisca Ordega, Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala up front.
Going into the game, the French were the favourites so Nigeria could play without pressure. Before this game, France has won both of their head to head encounters.
Nigeria did start the game attacking creating a chance for Oparanozie four minutes into the game. This was one of the only two shots at goal by the Super Falcons throughout the match. Ebere got yellow carded in the first half and was then unlucky to concede a penalty in the 73rd minute of the game and get a second yellow.
The penalty was given after a VAR consultation. French strike Wendie Renard missed the spot kick but VAR stepped in again to give her a second chance judging the Nigerian goalkeeper Nnadozie to have been off the line when the kick was taken. Renard didn’t miss the second time around.
Nigerian women continued a player down but couldn’t provide a response. Even though the French were dominant with the ball and the chances, the Super Falcons were awesome in defence the whole match. They ran as much as the French and had 18 tackles to eight for France and had four times as many clearances than the French.
However, they only had two shots at goal compared to 22 for France. And neither was on target. The Super Falcons performed a defensive miracle at the Roazhon Park in Rennes but in the end were undone by two VAR decisions.
After the match and some reflection, it was clear that the game was lost in the midfield with two many balls lost to the opponents. The Nigerian pressing game had great effect in the first half with them not allowing one shot on target by the French in that period. Coach Dennerby was proud of his players for the effort they put in.
Now they mustwait for the results of the other games to come in to see if they make it to the last sixteen.
Browse the odds for the rest of the 2019 Women’s World Cup matches on Surebet247.