Nigeria’s Super Falcons will look to secure a place in the quarter-finals stage of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France when they take on former champions Germany today (Saturday) in their Round of 16 encounter at the Stade des Alpes, Grenoble.
The Falcons sneaked through to the knockout stage of the competition after picking a slot as one of the four best third-placed teams.
It is the first time the West Africans are playing in the knockout round in 20 years. The last time Super Falcons reached thee FIFA Women’s World Cup knockout stage was when the United States of America hosted it in 1999. Brazil knocked out the Super Falcons in the quarter-finals of then 16-team tournament 4-3, through a golden goal.
African champions, the Super Falcons, will be without the key duo of Ngozi Ebere and Rita Chikwelu in today’s clash.
Left-back Ebere, who has performed admirably for the Super Falcons in the competition was sent off in the 1-0 loss to France – their last Group A game, while Chikwelu picked her second booking of the competition against Les Bleues and will now have to serve the mandatory one-match suspension.
There are also doubts on the fitness of star forward Asisat Oshoala who limped out as a result of hamstring injury in the closing minutes of the game against France.
Germany who have won the Women’s World Cup twice are one of the favourites to clinch the title, but Falcons head coach Thomas Dennerby insists his ladies have what it takes to beat the Europeans.
“I think the Nigerian team is definitely so much better than the ranking. Everyone can see from our performances that we are not acting like a team ranked 38,” Dennerby said.
“It’s a good team. We can play any team between 10 to 20 and win the game. And play very close games with the 10 best also. So yes, we are a world-class team.”
The game will kick-off at 4.30pm Nigerian time.