Should the Super Falcons fear the Republic of Ireland?

Should the Super Falcons fear the Republic of Ireland?
Credit: Icon Sport

Sitting pretty at the top of Group C in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup are the Super Falcons of Nigeria, who have beaten all the allegations of their unworthiness to compete on the global stage.

Although they are the most successful national team in Africa both in the men's and women's categories,  there were low expectations of them going into the 2023 edition of the women’s Mundial. Having dealt with the challenge of seventh-ranked Canada and 10th-ranked Australia, only debutants and 22nd-ranked Republic of Ireland are left in their group.

Should the Super Falcons fear the Republic of Ireland?

Republic of Ireland v Nigeria: Super Falcons history with debutants

The Super Falcons are one of seven teams to have played in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since its inception in 1991. Their overall record, however, leaves much to be desired.

Including the two goals conceded in their 3-2 victory over hosts Australia, they have conceded 65 goals. That is the most goals conceded in the tournament’s history. They also went two tournaments (China 1991 and USA 2003) without scoring a goal, which is also the poorest record among teams who have been to three tournaments or more.

These records do not seem to matter in the 2023 edition, however, despite being grouped with teams that rank 20 places or more above them.

Ireland is the second lowest-ranked team in Group C (22). This could have been a source of worry for Randy Waldrum’s women but after holding their own with strong performances against Canada and Australia, there will be less worry to face the Irish team. Also, this will be the Super Falcons’ first meeting with the Republic of Ireland in any form.

Seeing as we cannot pull data from past matches, we will take a look at the current form of both teams to answer the question, “Should the Super Falcons fear the Republic of Ireland?”

Republic of Ireland current form v Super Falcons current form

Group C will wrap up on Monday 31 July ahead of a round of 16 that will be keenly contested for the women’s title.

Nigeria are top of the group on goal difference after amassing four points thanks to a draw and a win from their last two matches.

The Republic of Ireland, on the other hand, have two losses, leaving them at the bottom of the group and officially knocked out of the tournament in their debut. The match against Nigeria will be a novelty for them; a fact that should make Super Falcons’ manager Randy Waldrum very careful about the tactics he chooses to execute.

Over the last five matches, the Nigerian women’s national football team have won four and drawn one, including the win against Australia and the draw against Canada in the ongoing World Cup. On the other hand, Ireland have only one win and four losses.

The implication of these statistics – and answer to the question – is that the Super Falcons should not fear the Republic of Ireland.

However, just as the Super Falcons earned an upset victory against hosts Australia and held Olympic champions Canada to a goalless draw, it is safe to say that they can be wary of the Irish, who are going to be playing for honour and self-respect on 31 July.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

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