The young Nigerian ladies are still in search of a maiden world cup title after finishing runners-up on two previous occasions
Nigeria’s women under-20 national team will lock horns with their French counterparts in their opening group match of the 2022 Fifa U20 World Cup in Costa Rica.
Nigeria and France have never won the trophy in the competition’s 20-year history, and both countries will aim to begin their title challenge with a win.
What will France bring to the clash?
In France, Nigeria face a team that has won the UEFA Women’s U-19 European Championships five times, their latest triumph coming three years ago.
A well-drilled outfit, the Little Blues are coached by the dynamic Sonia Haziraj and have, in Louna Ribadeira and Laurina Fazer, two of the most talented young footballers in the game.
France’s record at the u-20 World Cup is not terrible. The young French women were runners-up at the 2016 edition and have finished in third place once and in fourth place twice.
They recently thrashed Ghana U-20 4-0 to send a clear message of intent to Nigeria ahead of this clash.
What will Nigeria bring to the clash?
As impressive as France are, the Falconets cannot be intimidated by the European nation’s feats.
The Nigeria U-20 girls are the dominant force on the African continent, qualifying for every edition of the World Cup since it was installed in 2002.
The two-time African champions made it to the finals of the FIFA World Cup twice in 2010 and 2014, losing to Germany on both occasions.
What are the managers saying?
Talking to the Fifa website, France u-20 coach Sonia Haziraj said, “I’m extremely wary of Nigeria. I have massive respect for the African game and Nigeria have a number of players who possess real quality.
“The Nigerians always get out of their group at the youth tournaments. I’ve watched them and they’re a well-drilled, hard-working side.
“They have great pace and are very athletic, and we’ll have to be ready to match them in that respect.”
Earlier, Falconets’ handler Chris Danjuma said: “We are finally here, and we are happy to be here at the FIFA World Cup.
“The World Cup is always an interesting experience for the coaches and the players, and I am sure it is the same for other professionals who get to be involved.
“We took a long route to get here, having to play four different teams in the qualifying series. I can tell you that we are prepared to do Nigeria and Africa proud. It is not about being here to make up the number; it is about being here to make an impact.”
Tournament: FIFA U-20 World Cup
Host: Costa Rica
Game: Nigeria vs. France
Venue: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose
Date: Friday, August 12
Kick-off time: 12 a.m. Nigerian time