Falcons crash out of World Cup after losing to England on penalties

Super Falcons hold off Ireland to qualify for World Cup last 16 Super Falcons hold off Ireland to qualify for World Cup last 16
Photo credit: Justina Aniefiok

Nigeria’s Super Falcons have been eliminated from the 2023 Women’s World Cup. 

Falcons were defeated by England 4-2 on penalties at the Suncorp Stadium, Milton, Australia, on Monday.

Desire Oparanozie and Michelle Alozie missed their penalties as Nigeria crashed out after a spirited performance against the Lionesses who went down by a player in the 87th minute.

Nigeria qualified for the World Cup round of 16 after finishing second in Group B.


Randy Waldrum, Falcons head coach, opted to start Ifeoma Onumonu ahead of Asisat Oshoala at the tip of Nigeria’s attack.

Early into the match, Mary Earps was forced into an early save by Rasheedat Ajibade’s cross, which initially appeared to be straying off target.

Shortly after, Michelle Alozie’s header from a corner kick was blocked at the mouth of the goal.


Ashleigh Plumptre, who played for England at the youth level, proved a handful for her country of birth. The 25-year-old struck the crossbar with a shot outside England’s goal area before forcing another brilliant save from Earps shortly after.

The English nation had to wait till the 23rd minute to get their first attempt at a goal. Blessing Demehin fluffed a clearance and presented the ball for Alessia Russo, whose first-time shot was stopped by an alert Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Nnadozie was forced into another save afterward. She was well positioned to palm out Rachel Daly’s volley after a scuffle in the Nigerian goal area following a corner kick.

The match reached a crescendo in the 30th minute after Ajibade got involved in a tussled with Daly inside the Nigerian goal area. The English woman crashed down, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. But a lengthy video assistant referee (VAR) review convinced the official otherwise.


The most significant incident in the second half was James’ red card for stumping her boot on Alozie. But the Falcons failed to make their superior number count as the game tapered into extra time and a penalty shootout.

Alozie and Oparanozie missed their respective kicks as England edged Nigeria to qualify for the quarterfinals.

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