African giants Nigeria will be opening their 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup campaign with a tie against Canada at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Friday.
The Super Falcons have attended all nine World Cup finals and comes against regulars Canada who have appeared at every tournament since missing the inaugural edition in 1991.
The West African side will have to pull their socks if they are to sail past a group that has Australia and the Republic of Ireland with the Falcons being the lowest-ranked team in the group. Their friendlies prior to the tournaments included tasks against Costa Rica, Haiti, and New Zealand so they might feel ready for the task ahead.
For Canada, they arrive in the tournament as the reigning Olympic champions and while they haven’t enjoyed similar success in the World Cup, they will be hoping to replicate their 2003 outing where they finished fourth.
Nigeria’s previous meeting with Canada in April 2022 produced a 2-2 draw, and a similar result on Friday would certainly be regarded as a success.
After scoring 27 competitive goals for Barcelona last season, Asisat Oshoala will be hoping to carry her club form into the World Cup. Paris FC’s Chiamaka Nnadozie is expected to start in goal for Nigeria, and she could be shielded by the central defensive pairing of Oluwatosin Demehin and Onome Ebi. Toni Payne.
Canada on the other hand are sweating on the fitness of Chelsea midfielder Jessie Fleming but she should be ready to play some part on Friday. Christine Sinclair is the all-time leading scorer in men’s or women’s international football with 190 goals, and the veteran striker will be hoping to add to her tally against Nigeria.
Probable Line Ups
Nigeria XI: Nnadozie; Alozie, Demehin, Ebi, Imuran; Okoronkwo, Payne, Ayinde, Echegini, Ajibad; Oshoala
Canada XI: Sheridan; Lawrence, Buchanan, Gilles, Chapman; Grosso, Schmidt, Fleming; Leon, Huitema, Sinclair
Canada might have been too strong for an opponent like Nigeria owing to the experience on both sides but football has evolved and the Africans are expected to give a good fight too.
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