The Nigerian under-20 girls are through to the next round of the competition but could seal Group C’s top spot with a positive result against the Canadians
Nigeria women’s under-20 national team will look to make it a perfect three wins in three games when they trade tackles with Canada on Thursday in their final group game at the ongoing 2022 FIFA u-20 Women World Cup.
The Falconets have been the dominant force in Group C, beating European champions France and Asian queens South Korea with a similar 1-0 scoreline.
Those two impressive wins have guaranteed the Nigerian ladies a spot in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The coach Christopher Danjuma-tutored side will, however, finish top of the group should they avoid a defeat to Canada.
That should not be a difficult task against the disappointing Reds.
Losing finalists as hosts in 2002, Canada have been far from excellent in Costa Rica, with the North Americans the whipping team in Group C.
South Korea handed them a 2-0 thrashing before France forced a 3-1 defeat down their throat.
With the two losses, Canada are out of the competition and only have pride to play for against Nigeria.
It could be a tricky tie for Nigeria, though, if complacency creeps in.
Head to head
Nigeria have met Canada twice at the FIFA u-20 Women World Cup, with the Falconets triumphing on both occasions.
Both teams locked horns for the first time in the group stage of Russia 2006, with the Falcons edging a thrilling encounter 3-2. Nigeria got to the quarterfinal but could not advance to the semifinal.
It took another ten years before another Canada vs. Nigeria fixture came up again at the World Cup. Once again, Nigeria won 3-1, but both teams failed to make it out of the group phase at Papua New Guinea 2016.
Tournament: FIFA U-20 World Cup
Host: Costa Rica
Game: Nigeria vs. Canada
Venue: Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, Alajuela
Date: Thursday, August 18
Kick-off time: 3 a.m. Nigerian time
The Falconets and defending champions Japan are the only two teams who have a perfect win record in Costa Rica. And coach Chris Danjuma will be keen to keep the girls’ winning mentality.
Nigeria have managed just two goals at this tournament, conceding none. Canada, on the other hand, have shipped five, scoring just once.
Expect the Falconets to retain their solidity at the back. And I’m tipping the Reds to find it tough keeping Nigeria’s star forward Flourish Sabastine quiet.
Tip: Nigeria 2-0 Canada