WWC Matildas v Super Falcons: Match preview, what to expect, key players, team news, kickoff timePublished: July 26, 2023
Nigeria will be facing tournament cohost Australia on matchday two of the FIFA Women's World Cup on Thursday morning.
The Super Falcons played a barren draw with reigning Olympic champions Canada in their first match and will be hoping to avoid a defeat to stand a chance of qualifying for the round of 16.
Also known as the Matildas, Australia kick-started their World Cup campaign with a slim 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland and need one more victory to book their place in the next round.
The only previous encounter between both sides at the World Cup was in 2015 when Australia emerged as 2-0 winners.
Tony Gustavsson's ladies are the favourite heading into the game being the team with the superior quality, the higher ranked team in the FIFA ranking as well as being the home team.
What to Expect
Due to the superior quality of Australia and the home advantage factor, it is expected that the Oceanian country will boss the possession but will have their hands full facing a resolute Nigeria side.
The record African champions as we saw against Canada will try to stay compact and hit Gustavsson's ladies on the counter with the pace of the returning Rasheedat Ajibade and Ifeoma Onumonu in attack.
Randy Waldrum could be without Barcelona Femeni striker Asisat Oshoala who is sweating on her fitness but will be happy with the return of Halimatu Ayinde and Rashidat Ajibade.
The Matildas also have their fitness issues with Sam Kerr still nursing a calf injury and has been joined by Mary Fowler who replaced her in the first game alongside Aivi Luik on the sidelines.
1. Christy Ucheibe (Nigeria): The defensive midfielder was one of the standout players against Canada as she covered every blade of grass and was excellent in carrying out her defensive duties.
Ucheibe will have to repeat her gallant performance against the Oceanian ladies for Nigeria to stand a chance to pick at least a point from the game.
2. Osinachi Ohale(Nigeria): The centre-back is one of the West Africans' best legs and proved that against the Canadians as she was rock solid at the back.
The defender must be at her best to thwart the dangers that will be posed in the encounter and hope her teammates replicate the same.
3. Kyra Cooney-Cross (Canada): The 21-year-old was on the standby list at the last World Cup but has now grown to become one of the best legs for Australia.
Cooney-Gross' distribution of the ball is going to be vital for the Matildas' attacking influence and her off-the-ball work is also going to be needed to curtail Nigeria when they break on the counter.
4. Caitlin Foord (Canada): The Arsenal forward is the Matildas' main goal threat in the absence of Sam Kerr.
Played with a partner up front she will be hoping to create more attacking impetus for her side in tomorrow's encounter .
Kickoff time and venue
The match will take place at the Brisbane Stadium in Australia and is expected to start at 1100 hours Nigerian time.
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