Nigeria are set to play Australia in a Group B tie at the FIFA Women’s World Cup aiming to become the first African side to win a game in the competition.
Already, no African team – among four –have won a match after all of them played five games altogether since the tournament began in down under.
The continent’s best result so far came from the Super Falcons who battled to a goalless draw with Canada in the opening game. Other African teams – South Africa, Zambia, and Morocco – lost their matches with the Copper Queens becoming the first side to bow out of the competition after a 5-0 mauling in the hands of Spain in their second game.
But when Nigeria take to the pitch early Thursday, they have a chance to rewrite the continent’s narrative, knowing fully well that a win against the Maltidas would push them a step closer to the knockout rounds of the competition.
Australia vs Nigeria – Team Form
Ahead of the highly-anticipated Group B tie, Australia would be aiming for a win that would see them make the knockout stages. With 30 places ahead in the FIFA ranking, the co-hosts are favourites.
They battled to a 1-0 win over Ireland in their first game and victory against the Africans will cement their place in the round of 16.
While the Nigerian team would have the boisterous home crowd to deal with, Coach Randy Waldrum’s girls draw inspiration from Ghana’s 2-1 win over Australia in the 2003 edition of the competition.
The draw against Canada, the Olympic champions, is also expected to push Nigeria to a victory when they file out later today.
But a defeat for the eleven-time African champions would put them on the sculps of elimination.
Australia vs Nigeria: A Head-To-Head Record
Interestingly, Nigeria and Australia have only met once at the Women’s World Cup. That was in 2015. Then, the Maltidas ran out 2-0 winners against the Super Falcons.
Team News for Australia vs Nigeria
When the Super Falcons take on Tony Gustavsson’s charges for the second time, they will be without suspended Abiodun Deborah who was sent off in the draw against Canada. Already, superstar Asisat Oshoala is reportedly a doubt for the game after picking up an injury in training.
But Nigeria will have Atletico Madrid’s Rasheedat Ajibade for selection on Thursday after she and midfielder Halimatu Ayinde missed the Canada clash due to a suspension. Forward Desire Oparanozie is now also back in contention for the match after being sidelined due to an injury.
For the Australians, they will continue to miss Chelsea’ Sam Kerr due to injury. But Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord may replace her in the game.
Key Facts About the Australia vs Nigeria Game
• None of the teams have scored from open play in this competition
• Nigeria have participated in all editions of the Women’s World Cup while Australia only failed to make the maiden tournament in 1991
• Super Falcons are Africa’s most successful team
• Nigeria’s best outing at the World Cup was in 1999 when they reached the quarter-finals
• Australia have reached the knockouts in the last four editions of the Women’s World Cup
Date, and Time for Australia vs Nigeria Match at 2023 Women’s World Cup
The time for Australia vs Nigeria game at the 2023 Women’s World Cup is 11:00 am (Nigerian time/WAT) on Thursday, July 27, 2023.