The England Women’s national football team on Monday secured a hard-fought victory over unlucky wasteful Nigeria, advancing to the quarter-finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after a gripping last-16 clash at Lang Park in Brisbane, Australia
After 120 minutes of football action, neither team managed to find the net in the fiercely contested encounter and the winner was decided on penalties.
During the first half, Nigeria’s left-back, Ashleigh Plumptre, shone brightly, hitting the woodwork and testing England’s goalkeeper with numerous attempts.
England had a penalty decision overturned by VAR midway through the first half when Rasheedat Ajibade was adjudged to have fouled Daly. Daly, however, posed a constant threat to Nigeria’s shot-stopper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, forcing her to make several saves, and Plumptre cleared the lines towards the end of the half.
In the second half, Michelle Alozie’s tenacious defensive efforts stifled the English attackers, cutting off the supply from the midfield.
Lauren James, the English youngster, struggled to make an impact as Nigeria’s midfielder Halimatu Ayinde ensured she could not give her all. Switching her position, the Chelsea player faced Super Falcons resilient right-back, Michelle Alozie, who expertly contained her until emotions boiled over and James was sent off after a VAR review.
With both teams locked in a goalless draw, the match headed to a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. England stumbled with Kelly Chloe’s missed kick, but Nigeria couldn’t capitalize as Oparanozie also faltered. England secured their second kick, while Alozie missed for Nigeria. Ajibade and Ucheibe scored brilliantly, yet England’s composure prevailed, converting all their kicks and sealing a 4-2 victory.
Morocco is the only African country left in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.