How Nigeria made Africa proud at the World Cup

Their stunning win over hosts Australia featured four notable triumphs

In Summary

• History awaits the Super Falcons as they seeks to better the quarter-final run of 1999

Nigeria's Super Falcons celebrate their FIFA Women's World Cup victory against Australia
Nigeria's Super Falcons celebrate their FIFA Women's World Cup victory against Australia
Image: FIFA

Nigeria's thrilling 3-2 victory over co-hosts Australia saw several notable firsts.

Nigeria stunned co-hosts Australia on Thursday at the Women's World Cup, earning a famous 3-2 victory and coming a step closer to the final round of 16 at the tournament "down under".

The Super Falcons demonstrated their determination early on, with Uchenna Kanu, Osinachi Ohala and Asisat Oshoala all scoring.

Allana Kennedy scored for Australia in the 10th minute of extra time, but by then Nigeria had already established themselves as a team to watch at the tournament, following a goalless draw against Canada.

This victory put Nigeria in a strong position in their group, with only a draw required in their next game for the team to advance to the knockout round.


With the victory, Nigeria also became the first African team to secure a win at the tournament, and they also remain the only undefeated team from the continent.

South Africa, the African champions, had a tough start with a 2-1 loss to Sweden and a 2-2 draw against Argentina, while Morocco suffered a severe setback in their 6-0 defeat against two-time world champions Germany.

Zambia, too, had a rough start, conceding 10 goals in two matches at their debut World Cup. They lost 5-0 to both Japan and Spain, putting them at risk of an early exit from the tournament.


Super striker Oshoala came into the tournament as one of the players to watch and has lived up to expectations.

The Barcelona striker was closely watched in the opening match against Canada, but she had the final say against Australia.

An injury prevented Oshoala from making the starting 11 against the co-hosts, but she made good use of her time on the pitch to score Nigeria's third goal of the game to give them some breathing space.

Only eight minutes after coming on for Uchenna Kanu, Oshoala pounced on a defensive mix-up from the Matildas to put Nigeria 3-1 up.

In doing so, she became the first African player to score at three World Cups, adding to goals against Sweden in 2015 and South Korea in France four years ago.


Another historic moment was witnessed when 40-year-old Nigeria captain Onome Ebi came on as a 90th-minute substitute for Antionette Payne.

Ebi is the oldest player at the 2023 tournament and was coming on to play at her sixth World Cup, a feat no African player, man or woman, has achieved.

The Spain-based central defender is one of the three players playing in their sixth tournament, alongside Canada's Christine Sinclair and Brazil's five-time Ballon d'Or winner Marta.

Unlike the other two, who featured in their countries' opening matches, Ebi was an unused substitute against Canada but got the nod against Australia as coach Rady Waldrum sought to shore up his defence and protect his team's lead.

She did her job well, organising the backline, especially on set-pieces, which Australia resorted to after finding the going tough against the hard-fighting Super Falcons.

The four-time African champion surpassed even the great Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in World Cup appearances. However, former Brazil midfielder Formiga, who appeared at seven straight World Cups between 1995 and 2019, holds the record in the world.


Nigeria's win also made them the first African side to defeat a Women's World Cup host nation.

Waldrum's side were unfazed by a partisan crowd at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane as they withstood early pressure to record the big win. Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie came up trumps once again after her Player of the Match performance against Canada, making three early saves that laid the ground for her side's win.

Further, history awaits the Super Falcons if they silence the Republic of Ireland and advance to the round of 16 as the 'Class of 2023' seeks to better the quarter-final run of 1999.

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