Super Falcons set to test mettle against Olympic champions, Canada

Super Falcons set to test mettle against Olympic champions, Canada

Nigeria Women and Canada Women will begin their respective 2023 Women’s World Cup campaigns when they face off at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Friday.

The Super Falcons’ delegation departed from their base – Hotel Sofitel in Brisbane – on Thursday morning, for the 100-minute flight to Melbourne, oozing confidence and a determination to sustain their impressive record against the Canadians at the biggest stage.

The Super Falcons have attended all nine World Cup finals, while Canada have appeared at every tournament since missing the inaugural edition in 1991.

With the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations serving as a World Cup qualifying tournament, Nigeria reached the semi-final stage to secure their place in Australia and New Zealand.

Sitting in 40th place in the FIFA World Rankings, the Super Falcons are the lowest-ranked side in a group that features co-hosts Australia, Canada and the Republic of Ireland.

As a result, Nigeria know that they will have to pull off a surprise result or two if they are to reach the knockout stages for the third time in their World Cup history.

Randy Waldrum’s side have gained valuable confidence in their last three matches, recording victories over Costa Rica, Haiti and New Zealand.

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.

Canada, meanwhile, head into the World Cup as the reigning Olympic champions after winning gold in Tokyo two years ago.

They have been unable to enjoy similar success in the World Cup, with their best performance at the tournament taking place in 2003 when they finished in fourth place.

They were unable to make it out of the group stage in the next two World Cup finals, before falling at the quarter-final stage in their home World Cup in 2015.

In the 2019 tournament, they finished second in the group behind the Netherlands to advance to the last-16 where they were narrowly beaten by Sweden, who went on to finish in third position.

With Canada hoping to kick off the tournament with a win over Nigeria, they may be able to take confidence from the fact that they have won their last two World Cup openers by a 1-0 scoreline.

In captain Onome Ebi, Nigeria has already scored a first at this World Cup. She is the oldest player at this competition, at 40 (35 days older than Sinclair) and is attending her sixth FIFA World Cup as well. She made her debut as a substitute during the game against the USA in 2003.

Nigeria will miss the services of key midfielders Rasheedat Ajibade and Halimatu Ayinde, who were sent off during the second half of Nigeria’s semi-final clash with Morocco at last year’s Women AFCON, and handed two-match bans. They served one of the bans in the third-place game against Zambia days after.

“We look forward to an interesting match. Super Falcons will not bother about any team’s pedigree at this World Cup. In every of our matches, we will play to win,” team captain Onome Ebi told

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