Women’s World Cup: Nigeria beat Australia to give Africa its first win

Australia, co-hosts of the Women’s World Cup without injured star Sam Kerr, were stunned by Nigeria (3-2), who take a big step towards the Round of 16. It was the first African victory of the World Cup.

For their part, the Matildas, who could have qualified directly with a win, must now beat Olympic champions Canada to advance to the Round of 16. In this Group B clash, Canada only need a draw to go through to the finals.

In a sold-out atmosphere at Brisbane’s Lang Park, the Australians, who lacked a cutting edge especially in the first half, were unable to respond to the spirited Nigerians, who also defended very well.

As in their first match against Canada, the Super Falcons, ranked 40th in the Fifa rankings, impressed with their fast-paced attacks. They are playing in their 9th World Cup and, as in 2019, could reach the Round of 16.

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Just before half-time, however, it was the Matildas who opened the scoring: from a cross by Foord, launched down the left flank, Van Egmond finished with a flat-footed finish, sending the stadium into raptures (45+1).

But the joy was short-lived for the hosts, as five minutes later (45+6), the Nigerians equalized, thanks to Uchenna Kanu.

Then, after a corner had been cleared, defender Osinachi Ohale, well placed, pushed the ball into the Australian goal, where she was kicked in the stomach at the same time (65th).

The Super Falcons’ star striker Asisat Oshoala, who came on for the second half, took advantage of a defensive error to slip inside the Australian box and fire past the goalkeeper (73rd), set up by future PSG player Nicole Payne.

Spurred on by their fans, the Matildas tried in vain to pull a goal back, despite a stoppage-time goal headed in by Alanna Kennedy (90+10).

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