A thrilling last-16 encounter between England and Nigeria awaits football fans at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium during the ongoing Women’s World Cup.

The two countries remain unbeaten so far at the women’s football showpiece in Australia and New Zealand.

Randy Waldrum’s side finished second in Group B with five points behind co-hosts Australia, while England are winners of Group D after winning all their three games.

The winners of the highly anticipated clash in Brisbane on Monday will book a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Nigeria crashed out of the last edition of the Women’s World Cup in France after they lost 3-0 to Germany at the same stage of the competition four years ago and will hope to do better this time.

Meanwhile, England claimed a fourth-place finish after losing their third-place match against Sweden.

While the 11-time African champions will hope to improve on their best World Cup performance where they were eliminated in the quarter-finals in 1999, England are aiming to win the competition for the first time, having reached the quarter-finals three times and the semi-finals twice.

The highly anticipated clash is expected to feature key battles across the pitch.

In the spotlight will be the goalkeepers, England’s Mary Earps and Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie, who have impressively kept four clean sheets in their six combined appearances at the 2023 tournament. Meanwhile, the attacking prowess of players like Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala, a two-time Champions League winner, and the in-form Lauren James will be under scrutiny as they aim to score crucial goals for their respective teams.

For the Super Falcons, securing a victory will hinge on star striker Asisat Oshoala breaking her record of never scoring more than once in a World Cup. The five-time African Women’s Footballer of the Year, known for her goal-scoring prowess, seeks to shine on the world stage once more after her heroics in Europe with Barcelona. Despite her country’s goalless draws with Canada and the Republic of Ireland in the group stage, Oshoala’s third goal against co-hosts Australia showcased her scoring ability at the World Cup finals.

England’s solid defense, which has conceded just one goal in open play since winning the Euro 2022 final, will present a challenging obstacle for Oshoala and the Falcons.

Nnadozie, Nigeria’s 22-year-old goalkeeper, stands as the youngest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at the World Cup since her remarkable feat in 2019. The Paris FC goalkeeper’s leadership and impressive save against Canadian legend Christine Sinclair in Nigeria’s opening match earned her high praise from coach Waldrum.

“Chiamaka has done this before and I will say this and I will embarrass her in front of you all, but I think she’s one of the best young goalkeepers in the world right now,” he said.

In light of the formidable opponents, Waldrum assured that the Super Falcons are strategizing and devising a game plan to counter England’s strengths effectively.

“They are all extremely talented players, so we are going to come up with a game plan to make sure we can change the way, we saw how China played.

“The one big difference us and China is that they don’t have the speed and athleticism and our strength,” he said.

The Lionesses won their first meeting with Nigeria, Karen Farley striking twice in a 3-2 victory in the final group game at the 1995 World Cup.

Since then, however, the Super Falcons have emerged victorious in each of the two friendly fixtures between the nations.

They triumphed 3-0 in a friendly against Hope Powell’s England in Reading in April 2004 and were 1-0 winners when the teams met in Norwich in July 2002, Florence Omagbemi’s goal settling matters.

A 6-1 thrashing of China coupled with the early elimination of Germany and Brazil has Lionesses fans wondering if it really is coming home again this summer.

While the 1-0 wins over Haiti and Denmark in the opening two games were unconvincing, the emergence of Lauren James and a new formation has England fans in far higher spirits as they head into the do-or-die moment of the tournament.

The Super Falcons, unbeaten thus far, are poised to match or exceed their strongest-ever World Cup finish, targeting a coveted place in the quarter-finals. Football enthusiasts eagerly await the spectacle of this high-stakes clash in Brisbane, as both teams fight for glory on the world
stage.

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