Nigeria Super Falcons players react after Desire Oparanozie missed the team’s first penalty in the penalty shoot out during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Round of 16 match at Brisbane Stadium on August 07, 2023. Photo: AFP
In a thrilling encounter at the Suncorp Stadium, the England Women’s National Team emerged victorious against Nigeria’s Super Falcons 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw at the end of 90 minutes and extra time. The tension-filled match took place in the round of 16 of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
England’s solid defence and composed penalty-taking secured their place in the quarter-finals despite getting a player sent off towards the end of the 90-minute regulation time.
After containing an initial onslaught from the Lionesses, the Super Eagles came close to taking the lead on a few occasions. Nigeria’s Ashleigh Plumptre, a former England youth international, was the centre of attention, hitting the underside of the crossbar with a spectacular left-footed shot from 25 yards out. Moments later, she unleashed another right-footed effort, which was brilliantly saved by Mary Earps.
Nigeria’s goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie displayed her skills when she made an impressive diving save to deny England’s Alessia Russo from a long-range shot in the 23rd minute.
In the 26th minute, England were awarded a penalty after what the Honduran referee thought was a foul on Rachel Daly. However, after a lengthy VAR review, the referee reversed her decision, much to England’s displeasure.
The Super Falcons continued to threaten England’s defence, and coming close to breaking the deadlock. However, England’s defenders, including Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright, made vital blocks to keep their team in the game.
In the second half, Asisat Oshoala was introduced into the fray and Nigeria continued to make a contest of the encounter and almost took the lead when Uchenna Kanu’s powerful header struck the crossbar.
As the game entered the final stages, tensions flared when Lauren James was shown a red card for a stamping incident on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie in the 87th minute, leaving England with ten players for the remainder of the game.
Despite some late chances for both teams, including a fine save by Nnadozie from a Rachel Daly header, the match concluded goalless and proceeded to extra time where Nigeria could not translate their dominance into a goal.
The match proceeded to a penalty shootout, where England held their nerve and clinched a 4-2 victory.