Nigeria’s Super Falcons on Monday night lost gallantly 1-0 to France in their last Group A match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Roazhon Park in Rennes.
IZUCHUKWU OKOSI examines five takeaways from the exhilarating game.
1. The Super Falcons Lost The Balls Many Times
The Falcons lost so many balls in midfield especially in the first half which put the defence under tensions several times. In the 26th minute the Falcons had given away the ball 47 times!
Chidinma Okeke gave away the ball with nonchalant throws, Rita Chikwelu tried to dribble too much and ran into the French girls several times; Ngozi Okobi’s cross from a promising counter attack went straight to France goalkeeper
2. The Falcons Pressed The French
Prior to the match coach Thomas Dennerby revealed that his team will play a pressing game and deny the hosts any time on the ball.
Well, to a large extent, the African champions kept to the game plan as the first half finished without a shot on target from the more illustrious French.
Halimat Ayinde was the player who epitomized this tactic most.
3. Ngozi Ebere’s Position Was Targeted
Left back Ngozi Ebere who was sent off in the second half for an innocuous challenge on Viviane Asseyi had a torrid night keeping the French forwards at bay whilst she was on her first yellow card.
Nimble footed Delphine Cascarino especially was a thorn for Ebere to deal with.
4. Strong Falcons Defence
Despite the loss the Super Falcons can hold their heads high as the almighty France could not muster a shot on target until the second half.
Going forward the Nigerian girls were not a threat but there was organisation and game management by the Africans until the unfortunate penalty decision aided by the VAR.
5. The Noisy Supporters
The raucous noise from the stands added to the game’s all round excitement.
There were many Nigerians in the stands but there were understandably more French and their boisterous nature motivated the host nation.
By Izuchukwu Okosi
This piece was first published on All Nigeria Soccer