FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup: Olympic champions Canucks and the Girls in Green crash out at the group stages
(Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)
By Ed Emeanua
The Nigeria XI
Star striker Asisat Oshaola is back in the starting team.
Nnadozie; Alozie, Ohale, Demehin, Plumptre; Ucheibe, Payne, Ayinde; Ajibade, Oshaola, Kanu.
The Ireland XI
Lily Agg is in for Lucy Quinn, and Heather Payne has recovered from injury to retake her place ahead of Aine O’Gorman.
Brosnan; Payne, Fahey, Quinn, Connolly, McCabe (c); Agg, Littlejohn, O’Sullivan; Farrelly, Carusa.
STARTING XI 🗒
Teams news is IN. Here’s how we line up for our #FIFAWWC clash with Canada! 👊
— CommBank Matildas (@TheMatildas) July 31, 2023
— CAN Soccer’s WNT (@CANWNT) July 31, 2023
Nigeria played out a goalless draw with Ireland with Australia beating Canada 4-0 on Monday at the ongoing 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, in their final Group B games played simultaneously at the Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, and Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, in Australia respectively.
Ireland started started positively, with Farrelly and McCabe on the left causing early havoc and combining well to win The Girls in Green their first corner kick of the encounter in the 10′. But it is was Nigeria having the first clearer chance to score.
At this stage in Melbourne, Cooney-Cross’ lob was too high for Hunt’s initial header but a lobbed second ball into the exchanges is cleared by Canada. Australia came roaring back with Catley charging down the left off a feed by Foord. She squares the ball to the top of the box and through to Raso, who takes a touch before drilling it low into the bottom left corner of the Canadian post. There was an initial question about an offside flag on the far side, but VAR ultimately ruled it a goal.
Canada’s Adriana Leon chases Ellie Carpenter. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters
Australia’s 10th minute goal rockets the Matildas to the top of Group B, while Nigeria hangs on in second place over a rampant Ireland offensive football.
In the 15′, Quinn gave the ball away to Kanu, who slips Oshoala through, but the Nigeria forward drags her shot too far past Brosnan in the Irish goalpost.
Again and in Melbourne, Australia go 2-0 up, with Raso scoring her second in the 39′. Catley wins a corner on the left. Cooney-Cross plays it overhead, Sheridan failed to fist it over Kennedy, allowing the ball to ping off a Canadian defender and falling into the path of Raso who would not allow herself to miss from so near the goal line.
Hayley Raso celebrates her goal in the Matildas’ must-win 2023 Women’s World Cup Group B game against Canada. Follow live scores from the match in Melbourne. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
The half-time ended with the Matildas 2-0 ahead of the Canucks and The Girls in Green scoreless against the Super Falcons.
The Africans started the second half on the front foot scuttling into a corner kick in the very first minute of the half but Payne’s square play from the right flank failed her and her teammates.
In the 51′, Payne’s great feet on the left sets her loose, allowing her to whip in a cross into the box which Kanu heads down on the six-yard line. Her powerful header bounces in front of Brosnan, who somehow tips the ball onto the underside of the bar and out of the danger zone.
It’s all Nigeria at the moment. In the 55′, Alozie has been showing off her clever feet in this second half down the right. Her combination with Ajibade and Payne have been threatening the defensive end of The Girls in Green.
In Melbourne, in a Brilliant counterattacking play in the 58th, Catley releases Foord, her Arsenal teammate, on the left to beat the offside trap, then ghosts into the box, holds off two defenders before pulling the ball back from the byline for Fowler to stroke over the line from 4 metres out. Australia are 3-0 up and through to the next round for sure.
However, it was Ireland who had a better chance in Brisbane, with O’Sullivan finding some room in Nigeria’s box in the 60′, but her shot is blocked, allowing Nnadozie to mop up the loose ball.
Full-time in the match in Brisbane after 90+3′ and Nigeria are through in second place and set for a likely date with England in the round of 16.
Elsewhere in Melbourne, VAR replays prove Gorry was clattered into by Fleming’s lousy challenge centimeters inside the box. A penalty is awarded to the co-hosts.
Australia’s stand-in skipper steps up to slam it into the right top corner of the post and her second penalty of the tournament, curling a left-footed effort wide of Sheridan’s dive. The Matildas are into the round of 16 as Group B leaders and Nigeria are going through as the Group’s runners up.