Connect with us

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Countdown to Women’s World Cup: Debutants come with surprises up their sleeves

Published

on

Morocco, one of the eight debutants that may cause sensation

Eight teams will play their first Women’s World Cup when the expanded tournament kicks off next week and a couple of recent shock results indicate that they might not just be in Australia and New Zealand to make up the numbers.

Critics of the expansion from 24 to 32 teams raised concerns that inexperienced newcomers might be trampled beneath the feet of the traditional powerhouses from Europe and North America.

Zambia, however, showed that no team should be underestimated last week when the World Cup first-timers shocked twice world champions Germany 3-2 in a pre-tournament friendly.

Zambia striker Barbra Banda grabbed a brace, including the winner deep into stoppage time, after making a pre-match pledge that her 77th-ranked side could make inroads Down Under.

“It’s a dream come true so I need to showcase my talent there,” the captain told reporters.

Advertisement

“We have set a target of progressing to the next round and do well there and maybe go all the way to the finals.”

Zambia, who open their campaign against 2011 winners Japan on July 22, will be joined at the tournament by fellow newcomers Haiti, Ireland, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal, Panama and Vietnam, compared to just four first-timers seen in 2019.

“There most likely will be some lopsided scorelines just given the fact that some of these teams have not been able to be on the world stage or be in an environment like this,” said retired U.S. great Carli Lloyd.

The Fox Sports analyst nonetheless predicted the tournament would be “the biggest, best and most competitive World Cup to date”.

“It’s just amazing – a team like Ireland being able to come in and play in their first World Cup and Vietnam and Portugal even,” she told Reuters. “The expanded field is going to be great.”

Advertisement

The 21st-ranked Portuguese are the highest ranked among the newcomers and earlier this month held the European champions England to a goalless draw.

“I think anyone can beat anyone on any day,” said England defender Jess Carter.

“I think obviously we are constantly improving but the quality of international teams now is just getting better and better.

“The World Cup is so open for so many teams to go and win. Everyone wants to be challenging for the same thing.”

INSPIRE NEXT GENERATION

Portugal face a big test in their opener against 2019 losing finalists the Netherlands, while England play newcomers Haiti in their first match.

Advertisement

Haiti’s goalkeeper Kerly Theus hopes their debut can inspire the next generation and put her country on the map for the world’s most popular sport.

“I’ve been to tournaments where people said ‘Haiti? What’s that?’” she told the BBC. “We want the world to know about Haiti and the talent we have.

“Oh, and we want to get past the group stage.”

Ireland, a dark horse that analysts are keeping an eye on, suffered a scare after captain Katie McCabe rolled her ankle during a friendly against France two weeks before their debut campaign.

The Irish begin the tournament against Australia’s Matildas next Thursday and will be out to crash the co-host’s opening party.

Advertisement

After reigning champions the United States beat Wales 2-0 in their farewell match on Sunday, coach Vlatko Andonovski said that the top-ranked teams could not afford to take any side for granted.

“The top ten have always been there. The world that is catching up is Wales, is Vietnam, is Zambia, Portugal,” he told reporters.

“You know, the 7-0, 8-0 games are gone and we can see that. I mean, Germany plays against Zambia (and) loses 3-2. Those games are going to happen.”

The Americans had not been held goalless in the first half since January but were utterly flummoxed against 30th-ranked Wales before finally breaking through late into the affair.

While Wales did not qualify for the quadrennial tournament, the lower-ranked squad had sent a message to any of the favourites in Australia and New Zealand.

Advertisement

“No game is going to be easy,” said Andonovski. “It doesn’t matter who is in front of us.”

-Reuters

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament

Published

on

Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

Advertisement

Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

Advertisement
Continue Reading

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

Published

on

The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

Advertisement

Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

Continue Reading

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

Published

on

Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

Advertisement

The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

Continue Reading

Most Viewed