FIFA Women’s World Cup: The Tasks Before Super Falcons
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By Amaechi Agbo
On Saturday, the Super Falcons of Nigeria will file out against Norway in the second match of Group A of the 8th FIFA To Women’s World Cup which will commence in France on Friday.
Super Falcons will be making their 8th appearance at the mundial which commenced in 1991. Nigeria has consecutively participated in all editions of the championship. However, they have not been able to make a solid mark and this year’s edition does not offer easy route either.
Among all the past editions the team have participated in, football followers and analysts believe that this year’s edition remains the “best preparation” the team led by Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby have had.
In the past editions, the team had crashed out in the group stage with an exception being 1991 where they reached the quarter-final stage and rated as 7th best team in the tournament.
In the past 7 editions, the team played a total of 22 matches with dreadful results: W3, D3, L16. The team had scored 18 goals but shipped in the highest goal deficit in the tournament, 56 in all.
Super Falcons got the highest FIFA ranking in 2003, ranked 23rd in the world. However they are currently ranked 38 in March 2019 ranking with 1599 points
But the results at the global stage are in contradiction of the laudable and lofty hiegths the team have achieved continetally. The are regarded as the “Africa Power House” after winning the Africa Women Cup of Nations, AWCON, 9 times out of the past 11 editions.
In December last year, they won their 3rd consecutive title after beaten rivals, South Africa on penalty in Ghana.
Just last month, the local Super Falcons added another feather to their cap of glory when they participated in and won the West Africa Football Union held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Apart from their two weeks camping in Austria, the team also played two international invitational tournaments in China and Cyprus earlier in the year.
It is therefore stating the obvious to say that coach Thomas Dennerby and his coaching crew know what is ahead of them.
In the 2019 edition of the quadrennial tournament, Super Falcons are paired in Group A along host, France, Norway and South Korea.
Stats about the four teams:
Nigeria have lost 16 matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, more than any other nation. They have also conceded a competition-high 56 goals over seven tournaments.
France are hoping to become just the second host nation to win a Women’s World Cup or even reach the final – the only previous team to do this were the United States in 1999.
Norway reached the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the first two editions (1991 and 1995), winning the second tournament in 1995.
Korea Republic have won just one of their seven games at the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals; this coming in their final group stage match of 2015 vs Spain (2-1).
The United States are the record-winners of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, winning on three previous occasions (1991, 1999 and 2015), as well as appearing in the most finals (four).
Will the Super Falcons make a solid mark in this year’s World Cup?
Part 2 of this article will provide the answer…