By: Gyang Dakwo
Nigeria has been knocked out of the Under-20 Women’s World Cup by the Netherlands on Sunday to end African involvement in the tournament in Costa Rica.
The Dutch won the quarter-final tie 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Zera Hulswit and Ziva Henry in Alajuela.
Hulswit fired in a half-volley in the 11th minute after a poor clearance by Nigeria Captain Oluwatosin Demehin.
The Falconets created many chances in either half, with a long-range effort by Deborah Balogun coming off the crossbar at the half-hour mark.
Another poor clearance from Demehin allowed Henry to pounce and steer the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Monle Oyono in the 33rd minute.
Group-stage stars Esther Onyenezide and Flourish Sabastine both went close for Nigeria but the Dutch saw out the remainder of the contest to reach the last four.
The West Africans were awarded a penalty in second-half stoppage time for a handball, but the decision was overturned following a video assistant referee review.
The Nigerians had sailed into the last eight with a perfect record following victories over France, South Korea, and Canada, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) cited poor officiating for the team’s exit.
“A litany of factors, including poor finishing, hard luck, and dodgy officiating saw the Nigeria girls bow out,” the NFF said in a statement.
Nigeria has played at every edition of the Women’s Under-20 World Cup, but lost in the tournament’s final in 2010 and 2014 to Germany.
The Netherlands will face Spain in the semi-finals on Thursday, while Brazil will take on defending champions Japan