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2023 Women’s World Cup: Nigeria falls but heads held high


Nigeria’s players during the penalty shootout in the Women’s World Cup Round. Nigeria lost in the shootout 2-4 to England. Photo courtesy of AfricaNews.[/caption]

BRISBANE, AU.- Although most American soccer fans were focused on their Women’s team and its close loss to Sweden, most of Africa was watching the Nigerian Women’s Super Falcons attempt to be the first African women’s team to win a knockout match at the Women’s World Cup.

But the adventure is over for the Nigerian Women’s Super Falcons Team as they fell to England after the fateful penalty shootout.

Nigeria came so close to making history by becoming the first-ever African nation to win a knockout match at the Women’s World Cup. They fell 2- 4 against the Lionesses of England in a penalty shootout.

The nine-time African champions executed their game plan to perfection, frustrating England, causing the Lionesses problems on the break and winning almost every duel.

The Nigerians hit the crossbar in each half, Ashleigh Plumptre’s powerful drive ricocheting off the woodwork before Uchenna Kanu’s header looped over goalkeeper Mary Earps and bounced off the top of the bar.

Nigeria’s manager Randy Waldrum had already praised his team’s efforts in escaping the previous group containing Olympic champions Canada, co-hosts Australia and the debutants of the Republic of Ireland.

He said a victory over European champion England could have had “significant implications” for the development of women’s football in Nigeria. He added that his team can exit the tournament with their heads held high.

The Nigerian team is now left to contemplate all the spurned chances it had throughout the game that ran up to 120 minutes before heading to penalties. While the team can be proud of its efforts, the Falcons failed to capitalize on their one-woman advantage after England saw Lauren James red-carded in the 87th minute. James stamped on Michelle Alozie’s back after losing possession.

England, the Euro 2022 champions were given an almighty scare, but they go through and will face Colombia in the quarterfinals on Saturday.