Super Falcons soar into World Cup last 16 after goalless draw with Ireland

Here is a The Super Falcons of Nigeria have made history by qualifying for the round of 16 of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The African champions secured their spot after a hard-fought 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland at the Suncorp Stadium, Milton, on Monday.

Nigeria needed to avoid defeat against Ireland, who had already been eliminated from the tournament, to advance to the knockout stage. The Super Falcons had four points from their previous two games, a 2-1 win over Canada and a 1-1 draw with Australia.

The game was a tense affair, with both teams creating chances but failing to find the back of the net. Nigeria’s star striker Asisat Oshoala, who returned to the starting line-up after being rested in the last game, had several opportunities to break the deadlock but was denied by the Irish goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan or her own inaccuracy.

The closest Nigeria came to scoring was in the second half, when Toni Payne delivered a cross from the right and Uchenna Kanu headed the ball towards goal. Brosnan reacted brilliantly to tip the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and away from danger.

Ireland also had some chances to spoil Nigeria’s party, but they were thwarted by the Nigerian defence and goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, who kept her second clean sheet of the tournament.

The final whistle sparked jubilation among the Nigerian players and fans, who celebrated their historic achievement. Nigeria became the first African team to qualify for two consecutive Women’s World Cup round of 16, having reached the same stage in 2019 in France.

The Super Falcons finished second in Group B behind Australia, who thrashed Canada 4-0 in the other group game. Nigeria will face the winner of Group D, which could be England, Denmark, China or Haiti, in the round of 16 on August 7.

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