The Super Falcons will be expected to make it past the group stage of the Mundial despite being placed in a tough-looking Group B
Leicester City star Ashleigh Plumptre admits that the Super Falcons could find the going tough at the World Cup against hosts Australia, Olympic champions Canada and unpredictable first-timers, Ireland.
But the former England youth international is confident that the dethroned African champions have the quality and determination to perform well at the Mundial.
The Super Falcons finished 2022 with a terrible run of results, losing their last five games in all competitions and vacating their seat as the best team on the African continent.
But the West African giants will head into the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be cohosted by New Zealand and Australia with renewed confidence boosted by their outing in the last edition. Nigeria reached the knockout stage before losing out 3-0 to Germany.
Progress to the knockout round will be the minimum target once again when the World Cup kicks off in July and Plumptre insists the Falcons have the experience and nous needed to face their group rivals.
What has been said?
“I think our group for the World Cup is very tough,” Plumptre told the Vanguard.
“Australia being the host, I feel like AFCON was a good preparation for the World Cup, and we played in front of 45,000 people against Morocco. We went down to nine players, but we still felt like we could win. Having that experience will help us as a team against Australia.
“We already played Canada twice this year, and we drew with them in the second game, so we have more pressure on them. People don’t take us seriously as we are not expected to beat Australia or Canada but, we are not bothered; we focus on ourselves.
“Ireland is similar to ours. It’s their first time, but I will say they have a fight about them, and I feel the game will be very good because we are similar and we have a really great chance.
“We just want to prepare, and when the time comes, we will be ready. The journey will not start in July; it starts now.”
Nigeria’s Super Falcons have never missed out on any edition of the World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals in 1999 – the team’s best outing to date.