FIFA Women’s World Cup: Nigeria draws Canada 0-0

By: Gyang Dakwo

The Super Falcons kick-started their FIFA 2023 women’s World Cup with a draw against Olympic Gold medalist, Canada at Melbourne’s Rectangular stadium on Friday.

The high-octane match proved to be a test of resilience for the Falcons as they bravely stood their ground against the rampaging Canadians and also created scoring chances thereby adding to their opponent’s woes.

The Canadians had their fair share of chances to claim a lead, with no better opportunity than captain Christine Sinclair’s effort from the penalty spot in the 50th minute which was turned away by Falcons keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Sinclair elected to go bottom right, and Nnodozie who was the star of the match was all over it as she blocked the initial attempt before pawing away the rebound from Sinclair’s grasp.

The No. 7-ranked Canadians were the pre-match favorites against No. 40-Nigeria, but they couldn’t get many clear looks during the match as the Nigerians defended stoutly.

It was however a tension-soakedd final minutes of the second half for the Falcons as they had to finish the match with ten players after Deborah Abiodun was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Ashley Lawrence.

Both Nigeria and Canada’s World Cup preparations have been dogged by off-field issues, the pair speaking out on disparities in payment and bonuses, working conditions and resourcing and federation interference.

Group B is considered the Group of Death at the 2023 World Cup for how competitive the teams are, and the 0-0 draw will only serve to make the battle for the top two spots even more fierce with two group matches to go. Australia will face Nigeria next, knowing that a win would see them qualify for the Round of 16.