England star Alessia Russo has acknowledged her team’s challenges in their Round of 16 clash against Nigeria at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Soccernet.ng reports.
The nail-biting encounter saw England narrowly progress through a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw with Nigeria, culminating in a 4-2 victory in the shootout.
The dramatic winning spot kick was delivered by Chloe Kelly, securing England’s place in the quarterfinals.
At the outset, the Lionesses were pegged as the favourites against the Falcons, who sat 36 places below them on the FIFA ranking.
However, the Super Falcons defied expectations with their bold and assertive style of play. Surprising many, they created more scoring opportunities than the reigning European champions.
A pivotal moment in the match arrived in the second half when England suffered a blow with the dismissal of star forward Lauren James due to an unfortunate stamp on Michelle Alozie.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s offensive efforts could not culminate in a winning goal within regulation or extra time.
Alessia Russo has expressed her delight at England’s hard-fought victory against a formidable adversary.
She admits that England’s performance fell short and emphasized the need for improvement in the upcoming quarterfinal clash against Colombia.
Russo, speaking to the Mirror, stated, “It was tough. It shows how high the level of this tournament is. We’ve already seen it, and Nigeria took it as far as it could go.
“I’m just buzzing we’ve got into the next round and we’ve got another game to play.
“It was tough. It shows how high the level of this tournament is. We’ve already seen it, and Nigeria took it as far as it could go.
“I’m just buzzing we’ve got into the next round and we’ve got another game to play.”
Although the Super Falcons exited the World Cup at this stage, their performance leaves them with an impressive record of not losing a single game in regulation time throughout the tournament.