The Super Falcons fought bravely against France in their final group game at the Roazhon Park stadium on Monday, June 17, but were done by a 79th minute Wendie Renard penalty, as Les Blues snatched the win.
France was the favorite to win the game, with more than 70% according to Google’s analytics, but they were met by an entirely different Falcons team, one that proved just how resolute the Nigerian team can be.
Although the French ladies dominated the first 45 minutes of the encounter, they could not create any clear cut chance.
The only opening in goal was for Nigeria, but captain Desire Oparanozie failed to connect with Ngozi Ebere’s cross.
Les Blues came back from the break more determined to win the game, as they throbbed Nigeria’s defenses, creating better chances and forcing goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie to make two super saves in the 64th minute.
Ebere was showed a second yellow card in the 75th minute after bringing down Viviane Asseyi in the box.
Renard missed the goal, giving the Falcons another good chance to fight back.
However, in the 78th minute, goalie Nnadozie was shown the yellow card for dissent.
This time, Renard scored as France broke the deadlock.
The Falcons goaltender made several other timely saves that stopped France from adding to their lead, ending the game 1-0 in the french team’s favor.
Now the Falcons, who have only advanced from the group stage once in the tournament’s history, in 1999, must pray for fitting results when Argentina, Cameroon and Chile play their final round of games scheduled to end on Thursday, 20th June.
If the matches go the way of the Falcons, Nigeria could qualify into the knockout stage as one of the four best losers.
Featured image source: Vanguard News