Nigeria recorded Africa’s first victory in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as they came from a goal down to beat co-costs Australia 3-1 in Brisbane. The Super Falcons are now top of Group B with four points, after playing to a goalless draw with Canada in their opening match of the tournament.
Meanwhile FIFA Women’s World Cup defending champions, the United States, were held to a 1-all draw by the Netherlands in a Group E encounter earlier on Thursday. The USA came from behind to force a draw with the Netherlands in an enthralling rematch of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final.
Co-hosts Australia needed a win against Nigeria to book themselves a place in the last-16 of the World Cup on home soil. This was a second meeting between the two nations at the tournament.
In 2015, Australia beat the Super Falcons 2-nil in the group stage. On the other hand, Nigeria needed maximum points from the match to improve their chances of reaching the next round of the tournament. The game came to life towards the end of the first half with The Matildas breaking the deadlock through Emily van Egmond in the beginning of time added on.
But their joy was short lived with Uchenna Kanu netting the equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
The game took a dramatic turn with Nigeria taking the lead 20 minutes into the second half through Osinachi Ohale.
Lamina Oshoala made it 3-1 seven minutes later after a defensive blunder. Australia reduced the deficit deep in injury time and 3-2 is how it stayed. Nigeria will now face bottom of the Group B, Ireland, on Monday with all to play for.
In an earlier match, Jill Roord fired the Dutch in front in the 17th minute to raise the real prospect of a first World Cup defeat in 19 matches for four-time champions, the United States.
This was the first time since 2011 that the Americans had fallen behind in a Women’s World Cup match, and their shock at finding themselves in this unfamiliar position was evident with some nervy, uncertain play that followed.
Captain Lindsey Horan came to the rescue of the United States with an unstoppable second-half header from a corner. This result brought to an end a run of six successive US wins against European opposition at the Women’s World Cup.
The result between the United States and the Netherlands left both sides well placed to qualify, but their main challengers in Group E, are Portugal.
Portugal started like a house on fire against Vietnam and took the lead in 7th minute. It came as no surprise when star player Francisca Nazareth doubled the lead for Portugal in the 21st minute. There were no further goals scored in the second half as it ended 2-nil.