In spite of Chile’s win over Thailand in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Super Falcons of Nigeria have progressed to the knock out stage of the competition for the first time since 1999.
The Super Falcons have ended their 20 year wait for a Round of 16 spot in the competition since 1999 when they were tied with USA.
With Chile, Brazil and Cameroon booking a place in the next round as the three third-best placed teams, Nigeria had their hopes hanging by a piece of thread and would need Chile to fail in their bid to beat Thailand by a three goal advantage in Rennes to ease their woes.
Instead, Chile could only manage a 2-0 win over Thailand, firing the Super Falcons of Nigeria under the tutelage of Thomas Dennerby into the next round having claimed the last spot among the four best third-placed teams.
It had been a horrid journey for the Nigerian ladies who succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in the hands of Norway before triumphing over their South Korean counterparts by a 2-0 scoreline and finally bowing to the hosts, Les Bleus in their final group game played in Rennes.
Having secured a spot in the next round, the African champions will lock horns with Group B toppers and former champions, Germany in Grenoble on June 22.
With Cameroon having earlier booked a spot in the knockout round stages, Nigeria becomes only the second African team to progress with South Africa failing to skim past group stage football.
Records are meant to broken and they were broken here. Indeed, this is only the first time since the inception of the competition where two African teams would be poised to play knockout round football.
Nigeria would count themselves lucky progressing into the KO stages in such manner with Chile needing an additional goal to make it through at the expense of the African Champions, only to squander a golden chance via a penalty.