Following the exit of Ghana, the African Women football super power, Nigeria knew they will have to do without a loss to represent Africa in the quarter final stage of the current FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in Canada.
The Peter Dedevbo tutored girls came back from a goal down to steal another narrow 2-1 victory against England to set up a quarter final clash with New Zealand. Nigeria was under pressure in the first 45 minutes with England getting the breakthrough after 5 minutes.
Nikita Parris was at the end of Hannah Blundell through ball to score the on-rushing Nigerian goalkeeper from the edge of the box.
With 4 minutes to the break, a skilful display from Nigeria Loveth Ayila saw her beat her marker and score from 25 yards to level the scores.
Earlier in the second half England’s Bethany Mead missed a penalty but Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala won’t miss form the spot when she got her opportunity.
The African Champions held on to their 2-1 win and ended the group stage as group winners with 7 points making it their fifth consecutive quarter-final.
In the other Group C match played at the Toronto’s National Soccer Stadium Korea Republic beat Mexico 2-1 with goals from Lee Geummin and Lee Sodam as the Asian champions climbed from the bottom of the table, leapfrog both Mexico and England and finish as runners-up to Nigeria.
Mexico’s Tanya Samarzich scored an excellent consolation but was not enough to see her team go through despite fighting hard for the equaliser in the later stages of the match.
Group D of the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup already had France in control but they needed to confirm their superiority as group winners when they faced Paraguay.
The match played in Edmonton proved easy for the ‘Les Bleuettes’ with a 3-0 victory over the Paraguayans.
There were changes for the French team but scorer in the first game but dropped in the second, Robert was on hand to give France an early lead after 5 minutes when she scored from the penalty spot after Rosalia Godoy was penalised for a handball.
2 minutes after, Robert took advantage of a goalkeeping error to volley home an opportunistic second. France dominated proceedings but won’t add to their 2 goals till late into the game.
With 13 minutes remaining, two substitutes combined for a well-crafted third. Claire Lavogez was the goal’s architect, threading a superb through ball for Mylaine Tarrieu, who made no mistake, beating the badly positioned Recalde at her near post.
The other match in group D was between New Zealand and Costa Rica.
The Kiwis made history after thrashing the Central American team 3-0 with first half header from Skilton and two other second half goals to book their place in the quarter finals for the first time in their history.
New Zealand finished the group second with 6 points behind France.
The quarter final between Nigeria and New Zealand is slated for Sunday, 17th August in Moncton while Korea Republic now have a big task in the quarter finals as they will square up against group D winners, France who are currently one of the title favourites later on Sunday.