Soccer

England v Nigeria: Lowdown on the Super Falcons ahead of World Cup last-16 clash

Nigeria celebrated a memorable win over co-hosts Australia in the group stage (Tertius Pickard/AP)
Nigeria celebrated a memorable win over co-hosts Australia in the group stage (Tertius Pickard/AP) Nigeria celebrated a memorable win over co-hosts Australia in the group stage (Tertius Pickard/AP)

England will face Nigeria in Brisbane on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup.

Here, the PA news agency gives the lowdown on the Lionesses’ last-16 opponents.

SUPER FALCONS SOAR

After battling to a goalless draw in their opening Group B match against Canada, with goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saving a spot-kick, Nigeria stunned Australia with a memorable 3-2 victory in Brisbane.

Randy Waldrum’s side then secured progress into the knockout phase as group runners-up when they drew 0-0 against the Republic of Ireland.

American coach Waldrum has highlighted the chemistry and bond within the squad as key to their success so far.

Having fought their way out of arguably one of the toughest pools, expect more of the same determination with Waldrum often utilising a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation to maximise impact as Nigeria aim for what would be a first win in the Women’s World Cup knockout stage.

STAR PLAYER

A team-mate of England defender Lucy Bronze at Barcelona, midfielder Asisat Oshoala opened her 2023 World Cup account with what proved to be the winner against Australia.

Earlier in her career the 28-year-old had spells in England with Liverpool and Arsenal, winning the 2016 FA Cup with the latter.

Following a move to Barcelona from Chinese club Dalian, Oshoala – a five-time African Women’s Footballer of the Year – went on to win the Champions League as well as the Primera Division title.

Nigeria coach Waldrum is in no doubt about the impact she can make, saying: “When you have Oshoala, you have a chance against any team.”

PAST MEETINGS

Former England women manager Hope Powell
Former England women manager Hope Powell Former England boss Hope Powell saw her side beaten by Nigeria in a friendly in April 2004 (Nick Potts/PA)

The Lionesses won their first meeting with Nigeria, Karen Farley striking twice in a 3-2 victory in the final group game at the 1995 World Cup.

Since then, however, the Super Falcons have emerged victorious in each of the two friendly fixtures between the nations.

They triumphed 3-0 in a friendly against Hope Powell’s England in Reading in April 2004 and were 1-0 winners when the teams met in Norwich in July 2002, Florence Omagbemi’s goal settling matters.