Nigeria’s Falconets bade farewell to the ongoing FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Netherlands in the quarterfinal of the competition. The African side were the last from the continent to exit the tournament.
Having emerged from Group C with a 100% record, the Falconets were quite high on confidence coming into their clash against their European opponents. They sought to book their place in the last four of the competition, where the winner was due to face Spain.
The Nigerian side made a lively start to proceedings as they tried to assert their dominance from the beginning of the game. Against the run of play, it was the Dutch that took the lead only 11 minutes into the game.
A quick break from Netherlands saw a cross played in from out wide into the box where Nigeria captain Tosin Demehin half-cleared the ball to the edge of the box, where Netherlands forward Zera Hulswit controlled the ball before hitting a dipping half-volley into the top corner of the Nigerian goal.
Nigeria responded immediately and looked for a response but the Dutch rearguard action denied the Falconets any joy in attack. The Nigerians would soon be denied by the crossbar after Deborah Abiodun sent in a rasping drive from 35 yards out. The loose ball could not be finished by Chiamaka Okwuchukwu as the Dutch held on to their lead.
With the Nigerian team in attack in search of an equaliser, Netherlands took full advantage with a perfectly executed counter. Another cross from the right-wing found captain Demehin in the box only for her to miskick the ball. The ball fell to Ziva Henry who saw her effort squirm under Falconets goalkeeper Omini Oyono in the 33rd minute to double their advantage.
The Falconets took responsibility and dominated the game throughout but the Chris Danjuma-tutored side could not score even one goal against the well-organised Dutch. Netherlands have qualified for the semifinal of the U20 Women’s World Cup where they will face Spain. The unlucky Falconets will return home after impressing in Costa Rica.