Nigeria women’s U-20 team, the Falconets, will on Tuesday meet US in the semifinals of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup as the team attempts to reach the final for the second time.
The Falconets lost 2-0 to hosts Germany in the final of the last edition and a win over the US team will put Nigerian in a position to become Africa’s first team to win the title. In the last edition, Nigeria beat the US team in the quarterfinals.
In the run-up to the semifinals, Falconets led group B, scoring seven goals and conceding one in three group matches. A 2-0 victory over Korea Republic was followed by 1-1 draw against Brazil before Francisca Ordega’s hattrick and another from Osarenoma Igbinovia ensured clean sheet victory over Italy and a place in the quarterfinals.
Mexico proved to be strong in the quarterfinal match against Nigeria, stretching the game into extra time but suffered a late collapse that Desire Oparanozie latched on in 109th minute.
Two-time winners of the competition, the US, did not stroll to the semifinals of this edition. They started well by beating Ghana 4-0 but they came from behind to draw 1-1 against China and lost 3-0 to Germany in the last group match. Against Korea in the quarterfinals, they excelled after Nigerian-born Chioma Ubogagu scored the winner in a 2-1 win that dragged beyond regulation time.
To reach the final, the Falconets must avoid what happened against Mexico, when several scoring chances were let slip. US’s Ubogagu will also be desperate to be a hero against a team from her fatherland.
The Falconets are fired for the game after a Nigerian businessman in Tokyo, Stanley Okafor, visited the team and gave players and officials Samsung Galaxy Tab and IPAD. He also encouraged the team with cash donation.