Matildas coach gives the lowdown on Super Falcons' wingers, outside back, centre-forward, CM

Published: July 26, 2023
Matildas coach gives the lowdown on Super Falcons' wingers, outside back, centre-forward, CM

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was on media duties on Wednesday ahead of his side's 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup Group B match against the Super Falcons at Lang Park, Brisbane, and one of the topics he touched on was the strengths of the African powerhouse. 


Randy Waldrum's team put up a defensive masterpiece in their opener against Canada, keeping the strikers of the Olympic champions at bay in a goalless draw, and were unfortunate not to steal all three points with Asisat Oshoala and the hardworking Ifeoma Onumonu coming close to breaking the deadlock.


Gustavsson did his homework well before the presser as he gave the lowdown on the Super Eagles fullbacks, wingers, centre-forward and cental midfielders. 


Although the Swedish football tactician did not reveal the identities of the Nigerian players, he was obviously referring to fullbacks Ashleigh Plumptre and Michelle Alozie, central midfielder Christy Ucheibe, and the attack-minded players in the starting lineup against Canada in the shape of Asisat Oshoala, Francisca Ordega and Ifeoma Onumonu.


"Nigeria definitely have a lot of strength and more so than weaknesses. We've been targeting the Canada game and looked at what they did there and they showed against Olympic champions that they can compete with anyone," Gustavsson told reporters on Wednesday.


"They are one of the fastest team in the tournament on the break and the transition. They have speed both on the left and right side, they have a number 9 position that can both post up and hit runs in behind.

"They have central midfielders that turn on a dime, that's very technical. They have attacking outside back that does not hesitate to go forward."


Gustavsson was impressed with the Super Falcons team display against the Canadians and highlighted the physical attributes of the Nigerian players who can cause problems on the break with their speed.


"I'm also impressed with the short leading and short preparation time how they got the team together to play for each other, tactically solid as a unit but also with individual flair and skill set, so we know we need to have an A-game defensively to stop their attacking threats.


"We also know we need to move the ball really, really fast because they showed against Canada that they can play very physical if they get close to a duel and they're very good at that 1v1 duel game so we need to play very fast on the ball as well."


Atlético de Madrid dazzler Ajibade was selected to attend Wednesday's press conference, which all but confirms that she will be involved in some capacity against Australia tomorrow morning. 



Ifeanyi Emmanuel 



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