England survived a scare from Nigeria following a 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup Round of 16, 0-0 draw and penalty shootout in Brisbane on Monday.
- Nigeria faced England in a last-16 tie
- It ended 0-0 regulation time
- It took a penalty shootout for England to prevail
TELL ME MORE: The contest ended goalless inside regulation time and the Super Falcons stretched the English beyond extra time to a penalty shootout.
The Lionesses eventually prevailed 4-2 on penalties to proceed to the quarter-finals as Nigeria now head back home.
After England enjoyed the early exchanges, Nigeria began to settle in the contest, asking questions about the European champions’ defence.
Ashleigh Plumptre came close twice in the 15th minute, first having her cracker crash against the woodwork before watching England goalkeeper Mary Earps desperately diving to repel her other powerful shot.
But moments later, Lionesses attacker Alessia Russo drew a good save from Nigeria captain and goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie after profiting from Oluwatosin Demehin’s poor clearance.
England were then awarded a penalty when Rasheedat Ajibade pushed Rachel Daly but the referee later reversed her decision after VAR review.
The Super Falcons had a terrific start to the second half with Uchenna Kanu being denied the crossbar from a header.
With 15 minutes to go, Daly had Nandozie perfectly save her bullet header in what was England’s first attempt at goal in a while.
The European champions then went down to 10 players following a red card to Lauren James for stomping on Michelle Alozie with three minutes before the end of regulation time.
For the third time in this match, Nigeria witnessed the woodwork save England and this time around it was in the 104th minute off Asisat Oshoala’s teasing cross.
The two sides could not separate each other after extra time and they headed to the lottery of the penalty shootout.
THE MVP: Plumptre showed up when it mattered the most for Nigeria, executing both her defensive and offensive duties with aplomb. Her influence was felt on both ends of the pitch and she goes back home with her head held high.
THE BIG LOSER: Africa is the biggest loser after witnessing such a gallant side in Nigeria bow out. Nigeria were unlucky not to progress to the next round following a valiant display in Brisbane.
Morocco now remain as the only African side at the World Cup following the elimination of Zambia, South Africa and the Super Falcons.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? The Super Falcons now prepare to go back home and focus on the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers.
MATCH RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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