Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum has said his side were unlucky against the English in the round of 16 match at Brisbane.
England survived the sending-off of Lauren James to scrape past Nigeria on penalties Monday
Chloe Kelly scored the winning penalty in Brisbane as England beat the Super Falcons 4-2 in the shoot-out after a tense last-16 tie finished 0-0 at the end of extra time.
Speaking in a post-match interview, the American rued the missed chances against the Lionesses.
“We had every opportunity to get the result and unfortunately we didn’t get it done,” said Waldrum.
“I think we could have (won it in 90 minutes). We had the best chances, we hit the crossbar twice in regulation play. We were a bit unlucky not to get something out of it.”
Nigeria’s impressive run at the Women’s World Cup may have come to an end but the 56-year-old insisted their performances had made the football world sit up and take notice.
“They’ve been fantastic the whole tournament,” he said.
“I said to them after the game, we’ve not lost a game realistically (outside the penalty shootout).
“We’ve played against the Olympic gold medallists (Canada), the European champions (England) and we kept a clean sheet in both of those games.
“We played the host nation (Australia) and Ireland, who are in the top 20, and we didn’t lose.”
Waldrum said Nigeria’s performances, alongside those of South Africa and Morocco, should shine a light on African football.
“South Africa was exceptional in their run as well and you saw they created a lot of problems for the Netherlands yesterday,” he said.
“I hope what we’ve done is show the rest of the world that football in Africa is relevant.
“I hope people have seen that there is talent there and that we have the ability, and with a little structure and a little organisation, and a commitment to provide the resources that we need, hopefully, people see that we can be a major player on the world stage.”
Waldrum said the most important thing was for Nigeria not to lose the momentum they have developed in Australia.
“We don’t want to take the success and now not continue to move forward when we get back to Nigeria,” the coach added.
Waldrum said if South Africa were to win the right to host the next Women’s World Cup, it would be a vital step in the sport’s growth on the continent.
“I think it would be a great opportunity and it would do wonders for football in Africa,” he said.
“For all the nations, for all the young players, to come and see an environment like we have seen in Australia would be massive for all the young women aspiring to play for their countries.”
It was a feverish first half in Brisbane in which Nigeria were the better side from the start. Michelle Alozie’s bullet header was met by an equally-powerful headed clearance from Alessia Russo. Former Leicester defender Ashleigh Plumptre then hit the crossbar with a superb hit, before her follow-up effort was pushed away by Mary Earps.
England will play either Colombia or Jamaica in the last eight on Saturday, but they got there the hard way.
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