By: Gyang Dakwo
Nigeria’s goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland in a Group B other match ensured the Super Falcons progressed in second place – a point ahead of Canada- to reach the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup.
Each team’s best chance to score in the first half came within the first 15 minutes from their respective star players. Ireland’s Katie McCabe was just off target with a left-foot shot in the 5th minute and Asisat Oshoala couldn’t convert off a breakaway that came nine minutes later.
After a relatively quiet first half, the Nigerians picked up the intensity in hopes of scoring the goal that would move the them to the top of the group.
Nigeria came closest to breaking the deadlock when Toni Payne found the head of Uchenna Kanu. A diving said by Courtney Brosnan was needed to keep the game scoreless.
With the point earned from the draw, Nigeria is into the round of 16. The 40th-ranked team in the world avoided defeat in all three of its group-stage matches, including a shocking 3-2 win over Australia.
As the runner-up in Group B, Nigeria will play the winners of Group D next Monday in Brisbane.
Co-host Australia is also through to the round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup thanks to an emphatic 4-0 win over Canada, eliminating the reigning Olympic champion in the process.