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2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Super Falcons draw hosts, Olympic champions in group stage

Nigeria one of four African teams in competition

Nigeria’s Super Falcons have been drawn into the group stage of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand at the draw ceremony. The perennial African champions may face a relatively straightforward path to the knockout rounds in the group stage of the competition.

The Super Falcons were drawn alongside hosts Australia, Republic of Ireland and Canada in Group B. The Nigerian ladies recently twice faced Olympic champions Canada, drawing one and losing the other match against the North American country. The Canadians are ranked seventh in the world. Hosts Australia have the world’s third best player in Chelsea forward Samantha Kerr, and are ranked 13th in the world. The last country in the group, Ireland, is ranked 24th in the world.

Nigeria will kick off their competition against familiar foes Canada before facing the other two sides. The Falcons are ranked 45th in the world but first in Africa despite finishing fourth in the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Morocco.

The other African teams in the competition face similarly tough groups to the Super Falcons. Zambia’s Copper Queens were placed in Group C alongside Spain, Costa Rica and Japan. African champions South Africa were placed in Group G alongside Sweden, Italy and Argentina. Morocco were drawn in Group H along with Germany, Korea Republic and Colombia.

The competition is set to commence in August 2023, with Australia co-hosting with New Zealand for the first time ever. Nigeria crashed out of the group stage in each of its previous appearances in the competition since 1999. The Super Falcons have qualified for all previous eight editions of the competition but have only won four matches. One of their wins came against Canada in 2011.

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