In a highly anticipated clash at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Nigerian women’s national team will lock horns with co-hosts Australia on Thursday morning at the Brisbane Stadium in Brisbane.
Both teams are aiming for victory, but their opening match performances have set the stage for a thrilling encounter.
Here’s a concise and informative preview of what to expect in this crucial Group C showdown.
In their opening match at the Mundial, the Super Falcons displayed defensive prowess, securing a commendable point with a goalless draw against Olympic champions Canada.
Meanwhile, Australia started with a bang, clinching a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Ireland and currently topping Group C.
A win for Australia would guarantee their spot in the first knockout round. On the other hand, a defeat for Nigeria would put them on the verge of elimination from the tournament.
The odds seem to favour Australia, as they are ranked 30 spots above Nigeria in the FIFA rankings.
In their only previous FIFA Women’s World Cup meeting in 2015, Australia emerged victorious with a 2-0 win over Nigeria.
However, both squads have undergone changes since then, with only a few players from that match remaining in the current Super Falcons roster.
Despite their strength, Australia’s recent World Cup record is not unblemished, with only seven wins out of their last 17 matches, suffering seven defeats.
Notably, they were defeated by Ghana 2-1 in the 2003 edition, proving they are susceptible to African opposition.
Nigeria, although having a modest World Cup record, did reach the quarterfinals once in 1999.
Nigeria will miss key midfielder Deborah Abiodun, who received a red card against Canada, leaving a gap in their midfield.
Veteran Halimotu Ayinde might step in to partner with the influential Christy Ucheibe.
Additionally, star forward Asisat Oshoala’s fitness is in question, possibly opening opportunities for Uchenna Kanu and Desire Oparanozie to make an impact.
Coach Randy Waldrum may also consider starting Rasheedat Ajibade in place of Francisca Ordega, who did not impress in the previous match.
Nigeria (4-2-3-1): Nnadozie; Alozie, Ohale, Demehin, Plumptre; Ucheibe, Ayinde; Ajibade, Payne, Kanu; Onumonu.
Australia (4-4-2): Arnold; Catley, Kennedy, Hunt, Carpenter; Gorry, Cooney-Cross, Raso, Vine; Foord, Fowler.
Competition: 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Game: Australia vs Nigeria
Date: Thursday, July 27, 2023
Venue: Brisbane Stadium (Brisbane)
Kickoff time: 11 am (Nigerian time)