Super Falcons coach, Thomas Dennerby has declared war against the German ladies in today’s Women’s World Cup Round of 16 clash at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France.
The Swede tactician said his charges will take the game right to the Germans from the blast of the whistle.
Nigeria is a popular attraction in Grenoble, after the Falcons defeated Korea Republic 2-0 there in their second match of the group phase on June 12, and their stock of goodwill is still thick as they return there to confront the more famous Germans.
Germany holds the bragging right over Nigeria in today’s clash having triumphed on two previous encounters between both sides. The German ladies lashed the Falcons 4-0 in a group phase match at the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in China 28 years ago, and then pipped Nigeria 1-0 in another group phase match when they hosted the tournament eight years ago.
Regardless, Dennerby has assured that the African champions will not be at the Stade des Alpes to admire the boots of the Germans.
“I’m so happy we have made it to the knockout stage after such a tedious wait. Now that we are there, the hard wok continues. The Germans qualified for the tournament and for the Round of 16 like we did, so there would be no reason for any inferiority complex.
“The situation is fluid in today’s football. Glory comes to those who take their chances when they are attacking and tighten things at the back when they are on the backfoot.”
Germany contested in Group B of the championship, defeating China and Spain by the odd goal before hammering African representatives South Africa 4-0. They amassed all nine points without blinking and have a different pedigree from the Super Falcons as far as history and France 2019 are concerned.
Super Falcons lost their opening match 0-3 to Norway in Reims, before snatching all three points from Korea Republic and losing 0-1 following a late penalty to host nation, France, in Rennes.
Yet, this is the first time in 20 years that Nigeria would be making the knockout stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. And with the leading lights of the team unlikely to still be strong enough for the next edition of the competition, an energetic throw-of-the-dice against the Germans today is most likely.
It is also the first time ever that two African teams will be making the knockout rounds, after Ajara Nchout’s 95th minute winner against New Zealand sent the Indomitable Lionesses to the Round of 16, where they clash with England in Valenciennes tomorrow.
Remarkably, the Lionesses also reached the Round of 16 in Canada four years ago.
The Super Falcons will miss the suspended duo of left back Ngozi Ebere and midfielder Rita Chikwelu. However, Dennerby could draft former captain, Evelyn Nwabuoku to fill the gap in the defence, with Osinachi Ohale moving to the left back as another possible option, Faith Michael, is injured and out of the tournament.
Either Sweden –based Ogonna Chukwudi, home–based Amarachi Okoronkwo or Portugal–based Chinaza Uchendu will start in place of Rita Chikwelu in midfield.