.Canada, Australia in winner takes all clash
The Super Falcons will go into today’s last Group B game against Ireland aware that a win will keep them atop the ladder and away from a possible clash with England in the round of 16.
Nigeria sit atop the table with four points from two matches, while Ireland have no point having lost their first two games to hosts, Australia and Canada. The Irish have nothing to play for other than pride.
On the other hand, one of either Canada or Australia, who are playing in the groups’ other final game, need a win to qualify for the second round.
Canada are second on the log with the same four points as Nigeria, but they have scored fewer goals. So, if they beat Australia, they will qualify alongside Nigeria for the next stage. The Canadians will win Group B if they beat Australia and Nigeria lose or draw with Ireland.
In that case, they will avoid a possible clash with England, who are expected to win Group D, which also has Denmark, China and Haiti. England have already qualified for the round of 16 after beating Haiti and Denmark in their first two games.
Nigeria is one of only seven countries to have played in every single edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since it started in 1991, but the Falcons’ best harvests previously after two matches have been their three points at the 2019 finals in France. In 1999, when they defeated North Korea after losing to the USA, two points were still awarded for a win in the game.
The Falcons take on the Republic of Ireland’s ‘Girls in Green’ by 11.00 a.m. in Brisbane, needing a point from the encounter to be sure of a place in the knockout rounds.
The Super Falcons are on a six-match unbeaten streak, going back to their 1-0 defeat of Costa Rica in the Revelation Cup Tournament in Mexico five months ago.
After defeating the Costa Ricans, the nine-time African champions edged Haiti 2-1 in a friendly in Antalya, Turkey in April, and a few days later, spanked World Cup co-hosts, New Zealand, 3-0 also in Antalya.
In the course of their final training camp in Gold Coast, just before the World Cup, the Falcons whipped Lions FC 8-1.
At the World Cup, Nigeria drew 0-0 with Canada in Melbourne and defeated Australia 3-2 in Brisbane.