In football tournaments, a team winning and smiling means another has lost and is not happy about it. Such will be the case in the Women’s World Cup Group B match when Ireland face Nigeria in the last round of group matches. Ireland have, unfortunately, been eliminated from their first-ever World Cup after losing narrowly 1-0 to co-hosts Australia and, again, losing narrowly 2-1 to Canada. The only good news was that they scored their first-ever World Cup goal. This condemned them to no points and egress from the tournament but will be looking to win or draw a World Cup match and achieve some form of respectability before they exit the competition. Nigeria are, however, no slouches, and will look to cement the top spot in Group B by playing a professional game against Ireland. A draw or a win will surely give them that top spot.
The Girls in Green have been largely unlucky in this competition, although much of their problem is down to a lack of experience and quality players. However, both matches lost showed that, with a few tweaks, they are ready to challenge and increase their ranking and status in world football. A fifty-two-minute Steph Catley penalty condemned them to defeat in their first game after a better-than-average first half, and they battled desperately for an equalizer until the final whistle to no avail. A better performance against Canada gave them their first World Cup goal, scoring straight from a corner right from the fourth minute, but the experienced Canada team battled back and scored just before first-half extra time through an own goal. The Canadians then took the lead in the fifty-third minute to hold on till the final whistle.
Meanwhile, Nigeria made their own luck, playing defensively against the Canadians on matchday two and dragging the match to a draw with an inspired Chiamaka Nnadozie making several saves, including a penalty. They then followed this up with an even better performance against Australia, beating the co-hosts 3-2 and claiming the top spot. The Super Falcons know they have their future in their hands, as a win or draw is enough to keep them up top and get a favourable opponent going into the knockout rounds. The West Africans have shown why they are the best-ranked team in Africa, displaying experience and grit in their two matches so far to claim the top spot and go further than ever in this competition.
Here is a classic you definitely should not miss, so add it to your schedule and get ready for a scintillating match. Get access to more interesting match previews, powered by the Slay-Ballers Campaign.