Super Falcons coach Randy Waldrum insists Monday’s (today) final Group B clash against the already eliminated Republic of Ireland at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia will not be an easy affair, despite the Europeans having exited the tournament.

The game holds at the 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Ireland crashed out after losing to co-hosts Australia 2-1 and Canada 1-0, while Nigeria are poised to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition for the third time, following their stunning 3-2 victory over Australia on Thursday after 102 minutes of electrifying football in Brisbane.

Waldrum’s side had earlier held Olympic champions Canada to a goalless stalemate in their opener.

The Nigerians know a draw against the Irish will see them through to the round of 16, irrespective of the potentially explosive clash between Australia and Canada, which will be played simultaneously.

But Waldrum is not on cloud nine already.

“Ireland, first of all, it’s not going to be an easy game,” Waldrum told The PUNCH in an exclusive interview.

“They’ve been very good in the first two matches and probably if they had managed the game better, they would have gotten a result against Canada.

“We certainly can’t take it that we are already through because we are not, and we’ve been focusing on recovery, getting fresh and healthy and reminding ourselves about what we are playing for and that we have to go out and control our destiny, which a draw and a win will assure us.”

Leaders Falcons have four points, same as second-place Canada, but are top of Group B on superior goal difference, while Australia have three points.

If Canada beat the Aussies, then the Falcons will advance, even if they lose to the Irish. But an Australia win throws the group open, with the Falcons needing at least a draw to advance.

Waldrum knows this and admits their destiny is in their hands.

“A win certainly gives us the chance to even win the group, and without getting the result, we could be out on goal difference,” the American added.

“So, still a lot to play for and just trying to keep them (players) focused and not read the hype that is going on in the media, stay level-headed, be professional and make sure we finish out the job.”

However, the Irish remain focused on the clash against the Falcons and hope to grab a positive result, despite the uncertain future of coach Vera Pauw.

“We’ve got a massive game that Vera’s going to get us prepared for, lead us into. For us, that’s obviously what we’re concentrating on right now. I haven’t thought anything past that.

“We need to focus on what we’re doing here and now. We’ve got so much to play for in the last game,” Girls in Green centre-back Louise Quinn stated.

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