END OF ROAD: England Knocks Super Falcons Out Of Women's World Cup

Super Falcons of Nigeria have crashed out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup after losing 4-2 on penalties to the Lionesses of England.

The regulation time ended goalless as the European champions were forced to extra time by the resolute Falcons side and later sealed the scrappy win on penalties after surviving with 10 players at the end of 90 minutes.

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It was a painful exit for the Super Falcons who were the better side albeit being the underdogs before the match as they were denied a chance of sealing a historic victory – they were seeking to become the first African nation to win a knockout tie and equal their best finish at the Women’s world cup.

They leave with their heads held high after holding Sarina Weigman’s team to a goalless draw in 120 minutes.

The girls put in another excellent team performance to match the England side after similar outings against Olympic champions Canada, debutants the Republic of Ireland and a stellar win over co-hosts Australia to qualify past the group stage.

The nine-time African champions showed grit, dedication, and resilience by perfectly executing their game plan to frustrate their opponents but the England side scraped past Nigeria via penalties.

Georgia Stanway fired wide as the first penalty taker for England but Nigeria missed their next two and the European champions secured the win after Chloe Kelly fired the winning penalty into the top corner to deny the nine-time African champions a place in the quarter-final for the second time in their history-after 1999.

England will face one of Colombia or Jamaica in the last eight.

The Lionesses prevailed over the Randy Waldrum-led side despite Lauren James receiving a red card in normal time.

The Chelsea forward was sent off in the 87th minute for violent conduct after she deliberately stamped on Michelle Alozie’s back.

In an outburst of frustration for being kept quiet and marked out throughout the game by Halimat Ayinde, The 21-year-old stood on Alozie’s back after losing possession and was rightly shown a red card following a review by the video assistant referee (VAR).

The red card for the rash challenge surely puts a dampener on her impressive performance throughout the tournament with three goals and three assists as James will miss the quarter-finals and England’s leading scorer could face a longer suspension should Fifa deem it worthy.

The forward absence severely weakened the England side before extra time but before her dismissal, Nigeria had been the better side, hitting the woodwork twice through Ashleigh Plumptre and Uchenna Kanu, as goalkeeper Mary Eaps was kept busy throughout by the formidable Nigerian team.

Rachel Daly missed England’s best chance as her close-range header was stopped by the superb Nigerian shot-stopper Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Similarly, Daly had a penalty overturned following a VAR review that showed that there was no infringement after a challenge from Rasheedat Ajibade which made Honduran referee Borjas initially point to the spot.

Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, who is still recovering from an injury, started from the bench for Nigeria and later replaced Ifeoma Onumonu but could not register her name on the scoresheet despite impressive attempts on goal.

Source: VANGUARD

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