How well did the Super Falcons play in their first Women's World Cup 2023 match?


Here is what we think of the Super Falcons of Nigeria's performance in their first FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 match against Canada.

Following an early kick-off at 3:30 am WAT today, Friday, July 21, 2023, the Super Falcon of Nigeria played their first fixture against the 7th-ranked Canada, and here is what we think of how well the team played in this fixture of the Women's World Cup.

It was a packed stadium in the first game of the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the World Cup 2023, and amid concerns about how well-trained and fit the team was ahead of the competition, the players stepped up to the challenge of the fixture.

Slow Start

Super Falcons vs Canada ( FIFA Women's World Cup)
Super Falcons vs Canada ( FIFA Women's World Cup) [ Twitter/ @NGSuper_Falcons]

The Super Falcons of Nigeria started off slowly in the fixture, with Canada dominating possession as well as dictating the pace of the game in the first 20 to 30 minutes. It seemed as though Nigeria had opted for sitting in deep and then using the ability of the Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala as a pull-out to hit the Canadians on the counter.

The move was ineffective as the Barcelona forward was closely marked and followed by the Chelsea defender, Buchanan. It raised questions in the first half as to if the Nigerian head coach, Randy Waldrum, should adopt another approach to the game.

The Falcons held on in the first half, maintaining a goalless draw in the first half of the game.

A different second half

Super Falcons vs Canada ( FIFA Women's World Cup)
Super Falcons vs Canada ( FIFA Women's World Cup) [ Twitter/ @NGSuper_Falcons]

The second half of the fixture was another ball game entirely as the Super Falcons upped the ante in their attacking approach; although the passes were not well connected or did not reach the intended target, the intent behind every cross was clear. The 49th minute, however, proved to be a time of concern as Canada was awarded a penalty following a VAR decision on a clumsy tackle by Francesca Ordega on the Canadian captain Christine Sinclar.

The Falcons goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, stepped to the challenge from the spot and made a save and a follow-up save to deny Canada a goal from the spot and from the rebound as well.

The major change in the approach of Nigeria came in the 73rd minute with the introduction of a creative midfielder in Uchenna Kanu. It was a huge gap the Falcons could not fill in the major part of the game, as it looked in the early stage that there was a heavy reliance on counterattacks and runs from the wings.

Uchenna Kanu's impact was felt from the minute she got on the pitch, winning a set piece for Nigeria after she was fouled in a promising position. The set piece was another aspect of Nigeria's game that was obviously missing, as it showed in the final minutes of the game that the Falcons might have picked up all three points if they had started the game the way and intensity they ended it with. Deborah Abiodun was awarded a red card following her crunchy and ill-timed tackle on the Canadian Ashley Lawrence in the extra time of the game. The super Falcons, who managed to create more chances in the final 20 minutes of the game than they did for the better part of the fixture, stood their ground and bagged one point even with a man down.

Final takeaway

Nigeria Women's World Cup 2023
Rasheedat Ajibade for the Super Falcons of Nigeria

It was an exciting fixture to watch, Nigeria still remains unbeaten by Canada, and the crucial one point might be what takes them out of the group many categorise as the group of death. The absence of Rasheedat Ajibade to add flair to the attack and provide another outlet aside from Asisat was obvious, although Onumonu tried to provide support in that position. Ahead of the next fixture against Australia, it is important for the Super Falcons to start the game strong, as the hosts are known for the ruthlessness of their squad as well as its quality, even in the absence of Chelsea and influential forward Samantha Kerr.

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