Women’s World Cup: Nigeria qualify for last 16

FIFA Women's World Cup
FIFA Women's World Cup

Nigeria progressed to the round of 16 despite being held to a 0-0 draw by debutants Ireland at the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Monday.

The game in Brisbane failed to reach great heights, but the result was enough for Nigeria to finish second in Group B with five points behind co-hosts Australia, who thrashed Canada 4-0 in the concurrent fixture.

Olympic champions Canada were eliminated with four points, while Ireland picked up their first World Cup point.

Nigeria created surprises in the tournament after holding Canada to a goalless draw and then stunning co-hosts Australia with a 3-2 victory.

In their tournament debut, Ireland showcased plenty of defensive might only to fall short against Canada and Australia as their World Cup dreams ended in tears.

Nigeria only needed a draw to qualify but were unable to penetrate Ireland’s formidable defense in an uninspired first half.

Captain Katie McCabe, who spectacularly scored Ireland’s first World Cup goal against Canada, dragged an early chance wide.

Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala, who scored as a substitute against Australia, had a golden opportunity in the 13th minute to break the stalemate but her shot flew wide.

Nigeria were left frustrated by the dour contest but had more intent after half-time as they unleashed an attacking style.

Perhaps knowing Australia had a stranglehold over Canada, Nigeria pressed for the win needed to top the group.

Uchenna Kanu thought she had finally broken Ireland’s resistance in the 51st minute, but her powerful header was brilliantly saved by acrobatic goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

It proved to be the best opportunity of the game before Nigeria’s players celebrated after the final whistle knowing they had secured a spot in the knockout stage.

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