The Super Falcons of Nigeria upsetted the odds as they squared off against the host, Australia, at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia on Thursday.
The eleventh-time Africa Women's Cup of Nations winners came from behind to defeat the Matildas 3-2 in front of their home supporters to send shock waves across the world.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) July 27, 2023
To be fair, the Australians were without some of their key players who suffered injury prior to the game. This sort of tilted the game in Nigeria's favour, as the Africans marched on to a commanding win to open up Group B.
At the end of the match, GoalBall gathered five lessons drawn out of the game
Qualification from Group B is open for grabs
With the win over Australia, Nigeria rank top of Group B on four points, same as Canada.
The Super Falcons only need to draw to ensure qualification in their matchup with Ireland who are already out of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Australia will have to beat Canada, who also have four points and occupy second in the group, to progress through to the knockouts, a very daunting task for the Australians who will be eager to use their home support in their favour in the match.
Chiamaka Nnadozie maintains the bar
The Super Falcons goalkeeper was again at her best as Nigeria faced the Australians. Chiamaka Nnadozie saved a penalty in Nigeria's first game to ensure the Falcons earned a draw against Canada.
In the match against the Matildas, she was in the way of almost everything the Aussies threw at her, making six saves, five from inside the box and arguably the most important of all, in the eleventh minute of added on time to deny the home side and send Nigerians into jubilation as the game ended 3-2.
Chiamaka's performance for the Super Falcons ensured that Nigeria became the first African representative in this year's event to pick up all three points.
Super Falcons back is secure with Osinachi Ohale
The veteran defender was voted the ‘Best Player of the Match' after putting on her best performance for Nigeria in the Women's World Cup.
She ensured that Nigeria led in the game for the first time, as her goal in the 65th minute put the Super Falcons 2-1 ahead.
She also made four clearances, won two out of two ground duels, put in two clean tackles and had 71% pass accuracy in the game.
With Osinachi Ohale in the back for the Falcons, the team will break fallow grounds for Nigeria in the ongoing World Cup.
Depleted Australia showed strength
The Matildas had lost Sam Kerr, their star striker and some other key players to injury prior to the game. Yet, a weakened Australia showed strength and character in the game.
Emily van Egmund proved her worth as she troubled the Falcons defense, scoring also for the Matildas.
The Matildas dominated the game, and had eight shots on target, and were the better team on the day, but they lost, which proves that the best doesn't always win.
The Australians will take the positives from the game, and try to stage a win against Canada in their next game.
Super Falcons need Asisat Oshoala's goals
Asisat Oshoala’s performance in Nigeria’s first game was not very impressive, and Nigerians expressed concerns heading into the decisive clash against the Matildas.
However, the Barcelona Femeni superstar got off the mark at the FIFA Women's World Cup after coming off the bench to score and break the hearts of many Australians.
She also set a record for herself as she became the first Nigerian footballer to score in three different World Cup tournaments.
The Super Falcons and Nigerians will now hope she continues her scoring touch as they progress in the tournament because her goals will make Nigeria grow in leaps and bounds in the ongoing women's competition.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago