Super Falcons will look to book their place in the knockout rounds of the Women’s World Cup 2023 when they face Ireland Women on Monday, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
In contrast to their opponents, the Girls in Green have already been eliminated, but they will be determined to end their campaign with a win.
Monday’s game carries huge significance for both sides, albeit for very different reasons. Nigeria need just a point to confirm their place in the knockout stage, while a win would guarantee them top spot in the group for the very first time.
Republic of Ireland are already out of the competition – despite two valiant performances against Australia and Canada – but Vera Pauw’s side will be desperate to depart Australia & New Zealand with something to show for their impressive efforts. Katie McCabe, the team’s inspirational skipper, netted her nation’s first-ever finals goal in the loss to Canada. Can she now lead them to a first point or three?
With both sides looking to break new ground, sparks are sure to fly at Brisbane Stadium.
Vera Pauw’s side could be without the services of Heather Payne, who missed the defeat to Canada after pulling out of the warm-up with an injury issue.
Marissa Sheva dropped out of the starting lineup on Wednesday, but she could be recalled to the side for Ireland’s final group game.
McCabe became the first Irish player to score at a Women’s World Cup when she found the net on Matchday Two, and she will continue to be key to Ireland’s attacking efforts in their final group game.
As for their opponents, Nigeria boss Randy Waldrum will stick with the back four of Michelle Alozie, Ohale, Oluwatosin Demehin and Ashleigh Plumptre.
Oshoala was a surprise omission from Thursday’s starting lineup, but after coming off the bench to score Nigeria’s third goal, the Barcelona forward is expected to return to the side for the final group game.
Deborah Abiodun is in contention to start after serving a one-match suspension for the red card that she received against Canada on Matchday One.
Ireland Women possible starting lineup XI: Brosnan; Fahey, Lo. Quinn, Connolly; O’Gorman, O’Sullivan, Littlejohn, McCabe; Sheva, Carusa, Farrelly
Super Falcons possible starting lineup XI: Nnadozie; Alozie, Ohale, Demehin, Plumptre; Ucheibe, Abiodun; Ajibade, Payne, Oshoala; Onumonu
Facts and figures (H2H):
- Republic of Ireland are still searching for their first point, win and goal from open play at the World Cup
- Only Katie McCabe has found the net for the Girls in Green
- Nigeria are aiming to complete an unbeaten group stage for the very first time
- The Super Falcons have netted three times in the Group B so far, their most in the first round since 1999 when they scored five (level with 1995).
Ireland 1-2 Nigeria
Nigeria have showcased their talents at both ends of the pitch in the opening two games, and with the squad full of confidence, we think that they will edge out Ireland to book their place in the Women’s World Cup knockout rounds for just the third time in their history.
As the anticipation builds for this clash, Nigeria’s triumph over the resilient Irish side seems likely.
With their recent victory against the host nation Australia, the Super Falcons have proven their mettle on the grandest stage of women’s football.
Though the Girls in Green may seek to upset the standings with a memorable victory, the experience and tenacity of Nigeria make them the favorites to clinch a spot in the round of 16.
Competition: 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Game: Nigeria vs. Ireland
Date: Monday, July 31
Venue: Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane
Kickoff time: 11.00 am (Nigerian time)