Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji
Nigeria’s senior women’s national team played out a 0-0 draw with debutant, the Republic of Ireland to book a place in the Round of 16 of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Monday.
Having lost their opening two games, the Republic of Ireland are already out of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. No European nation has ever lost each of their first three games at the competition before.
Before this year, none of the last five European teams that made their FIFA World Cup debut won their last group stage game (three draws and two losses); the last European debutant to win on matchday three was Russia in 1999 against Canada (4-1).
A neat Ireland in the fifth-minute move ended with Sinead Farrelly laying the ball back for Katie McCabe to hit the first time from outside the box. She fired goalwards, but can only fizz her powerful effort wide of the right post.
Louise Quinn inexplicably gave the ball away to Uchenna Kanu, who quickly slid Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala in on goal in the 14th minute. She was forced a bit wide, though, and her eventual shot flew across goal and agonisingly wide of the post, much to Quinn’s relief.
The teams trudge off for the break with the game goalless, though both teams have had chances to get their noses in front.
Ireland captain McCabe had the first, fizzing wide of the post after Farrelly teed her up before Oshoala failed to make Quinn pay for recklessly giving the ball away as she failed to hit the target. The Girls in Green certainly shaded the opening 45 minutes, but they have not capitalised on their impressive performance with the scoreline 0-0 at the interval.
As time runs out on the Republic of Ireland’s tournament, they hold on for their first-ever World Cup point. Nigeria looked relatively happy to settle for a point, allowing the Girls in Green to have possession, knowing a draw is enough to see them through.
The West African giants in the end picked a spot in the knockout round for the third time in their history at the World Cup after making it in 1999 and 2019.
Australia recorded a 4-0 win over Olympic champions, Canada to seal a place in the knockout stage.
Canada and Australia faced each other for the second time at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, following a 2-2 draw in their final group stage game at the 2007 tournament.
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Beverly Priestman made one change to her Canada side that won 2-1 against Ireland. Up front, it was Christine Sinclair who came in with Evelyne Viens dropping to the bench.
There was also a solo change from Tony Gustavsson to the Australia side that lost 3-2 against Nigeria as Cortnee Vine made way for Mary Fowler. Captain Sam Kerr, who missed the first two games for Australia with a calf injury, was only fit enough to return to the bench.
Hayley Raso put the Matildas ahead against Canada in Melbourne in the ninth minute of play and scored her second of the game to double Australia’s lead in the 39th minute.
Mary Fowler made it 3-0 for the World Cup co-host in the 58th minute before Stephanie Catley’s penalty in the additional minutes of the second half sealed a 4-0 win.
Australia tops Group B with six points ahead of Nigeria with five points and will face Group D runner-ups while Super Falcons will play Group D winners.
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