The Super Falcons are back in the hunt for a place in the last 16 after a executing a counter-attacking game plan to perfection against Korea Republic.
They enjoyed a slice of fortune with the own goal that gave them the lead on 29 minutes but there was nothing lucky about Asisat Oshoala’s excellent second goal in the 75th minute.
As expected, the Koreans had the majority of possession but Nigeria didn’t panic. Instead they used their own strengths of strong wide play and quick transitions to trouble their opponents’ defence.
There were standout first half performances from Ngozi Ebere and midfielder Chinaza Uchendu.
Thomas Dennerby was pleased at that Nigeria were able to extend their lead to secure all three points.
“Today our discipline was better than against Norway – no mistakes at all. If we can be as compact as we were today, don’t let teams overplay us in midfield and find passes through, we know we’ll get opportunities for players like Asisat. The players followed our match plan and that’s all you can really ask. Now we go to play France, a really good team. If we can come out with a point everyone would be extremely happy. But you can’t just go to defend – you need to know what to do when you win the ball back. And hopefully we can have a little bit of success,” said Dennerby
Oshoala showed that she will be key to Nigeria’s success and after the match the Super Falcons striker said she always tries her best when on the field of play but at the same time taking a cautious approach.
“At first, I think we were a little bit scared of losing and going out. But after a while we just decided to go for it. I always say that I’m never under pressure – I just go on the pitch and do my job. It’s an 11-player game and I just look to enjoy the game, have fun and do the right thing for my team. The group is wide open now. We just have to concentrate now on making sure we get the points we need against France,” Oshoala said.
Nigeria have joined France and Norway on three points, but it all looks pretty grim for Korea Republic. They’ll need to beat the Norwegians, and likely beat them convincingly, to have a chance of advancing.
Now they go on to face the hosts, while Korea Republic are left praying for a miracle against Norway.