The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup continues Thursday (on FOX and the FOX Sports app) with Nigeria taking on Group B favorite and reigning Olympic champion Canada at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Australia, as both squads aim to start their tournament journey off on the right foot.
Heading into Thursday’s match, the Canadians are 1-0-3 in their last four games against 2023 World Cup teams, while the Super Falcons have a record of 0-1-7 in their last eight matches against such opponents.
Both countries reached the Round of 16 of the 2019 World Cup before suffering shutout losses.
Canada is captained by powerhouse forward Christine Sinclair, 40, who has a record 190 goals and more than 300 caps across her 22-year career. Nigeria is led by star defender Onome Ebi, also 40. Both are playing in the World Cup for the sixth time.
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75′: Star power
The Super Falcons pulled out all the stops in the second half, as both teams continued to battle.
66′: Not so fast
Nigeria goalie Chiamaka Nnadozie came up with block after block in the second half to keep things competitive.
50′: What a save!
Sinclair — the greatest goalscorer in the history of international soccer — wasn’t able to capitalize on her second-half penalty shot, as Nnadozie came up with a monumental save to keep Canada off the board.
47′: First VAR review
A penalty was awarded to Canada after a VAR review confirmed a foul by Nigeria forward Francisca Ordega.
Nnadozie came up with an all-important save late in the first half to keep her team out of harm’s way.
35′: Teamwork in full force
Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala had a golden opportunity to put her team on the board, but the Canadians had other plans.
Nigeria midfielder Deborah Abiodun‘s shot late in the first half was too high, and things remained at a stalemate.
29′: All-out effort
Jordyn Huitema nearly put the Canadians ahead in the first half, but her header missed just to the right.
Nigeria forward Ifeoma Onumonu took a shot from distance midway through the opening half, but Canada goalie Kailen Sheridan wasn’t letting anything past her and came up with a crucial save to keep things scoreless.
18′: No quit
Huitema won a free kick early in the first half after getting tripped up by Nigeria defender Michelle Alozie, who narrowly avoided a yellow card in the process.
9′: What could have been
Sinclair was this close to getting her squad on the board first right out of the gate, but her attempt was no good.
Setting the stage
The “World Cup Now” crew previewed the match live on Twitter ahead of kickoff.
One goal in mind
Canada’s roster in this tournament has 39.1% of its members (nine players) hailing from the National Women’s Soccer League; no one on the roster plays domestically in Canada.
Comparatively, Nigeria has no players in the NWSL.
That said, Nigeria does feature star striker Oshoala, who was the joint top scorer in Spain’s Liga F last season.
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