European champions England thrashed China 6-1 in their last group game on Tuesday in Adelaide to send a ruthless warning to Nigeria ahead of their round of 16 meeting slated for next Monday in Brisbane at the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

England have quietly gone about their business in the group stage, winning their first two games against Denmark and Haiti 1-0, but showed absolute class to sweep aside the Chinese and finish their group campaign with a 100 per cent record.

The Lionesses have now set up a round of 16 clash against Nigeria, who finished second in Group B, no thanks to their goalless draw against Ireland on Monday. The Falcons drew 0-0 with Canada in their first game and stunned co-hosts Australia 3-2 in their second game but missed the chance to top the group and avoid the potentially difficult clash against England.

Chelsea forward, Lauren James, produced a sensational individual performance with two goals and three assists to earn the player of the match award against China and she’s already looking forward to the next round.

“Another day of obviously what dreams are made of. I’m happy for the team and everyone is buzzing, and we’re looking forward to going into the next round. I felt free, whether I’m on the wing or in the middle, I’m just happy to be on the pitch playing and enjoying my football,” James said after the game.

Meanwhile, mixed reactions have trailed the Falcons clash against the Lionesses as the match up was imminent since the Falcons booked their place in the round of 16 on Monday.

“We welcome a #FIFAWWC round of 16 date with European champions, England on Monday,” a tweet from the Falcons account read.

Some fans maintained that the fixture was avoidable, ruling out the chances of the nine-time African champions to rub shoulders with the European champions.

“The more victories you have, the more your confidence boost. They should have won that Ireland game, they played with fear and nearly lost the game,” Isaac Edward wrote.

Another Twitter user simply identified as Okey also said, “As a Nigerian I pray they win, but I don’t see this Nigerian team defeating England in the round of 16. This was why I wanted you guys to win against Ireland, top the group and face Denmark instead of England. I think that’s the end of the road but I wish you all the best.”

“We should have been facing Denmark, only if we won on Monday. The match was there for the taking but Randy plays this anti football and that is what we played in WAFCON,” another fan identified as Okpe Harcourt wrote.

However, some other Nigerians expressed optimism about the Falcons’ chances of reaching the last eight, noting some of the things the team must do to curb England.

“Work on shooting, and better passing of the ball. Better use of corner kicks, free kicks and all. Attackers should also learn how to position themselves. Tidy the midfield and ensure to convert all chances. It will be a sweet game,” Jude Akhabue said.

“Tactics and athleticism will win this game, we can exploit that to our advantage,” Sam Baker added.

Another fan, Sunday Bamigboye, is anticipating an upset in the game.

“This can be done, impossible is nothing in football. Slow England down with their pace.”

Nigeria and England will face off a the Bribane Stadium by 8:30am next Monday.

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