England wary of complacency in last-16 tie with Nigeria
After finishing off the group stages with a strong performance, England have good momentum heading into their last-16 tie with Nigeria. However, England can’t be complacent.
Sarina Wiegman, the manager, does not want her side to follow in the footsteps of top-ranked nations such as the USA, Germany, Canada, and Brazil by early exit.
At the Women’s World Cup, Nigeria has never progressed further than the quarter-final stage, despite being 11-time African champions.
Despite winning Euro 2022 last summer, England are favourites to win the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, but first they must negotiate Monday’s match in Brisbane (kick-off 8:00 BST).
Wiegman stated, “We have seen that nothing in this tournament is easy.”. “The game has shown its growth in this tournament.”.
This hasn’t been an easy game for us, and that’s what we expect [on Monday], a very competitive game.
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She said it would be inappropriate for her team to be complacent but hoped they could cause Nigeria problems after thrashing China 6-1 last week.
During the last two Women’s World Cups, England has reached the semi-finals and last failed to qualify for the quarter-finals in 2003.
In addition, Keira Walsh, who trained at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday, may give the Lionesses a boost.
We are always looking for ways to beat our opponents,” Wiegman said. There has been a lot of competition. Nobody can be complacent, since that would be inappropriate.
We all saw how well Nigeria did in this tournament and they were in a very tough group.
Our plan is to exploit their weaknesses, not their strengths. They are an athletic team, quick in the transition and eager to play. We know their strengths. Our plan is to exploit their weaknesses.”
According to Wiegman, England now have two options after the back three worked so well against China.
In that 6-1 win, Chelsea’s Lauren James scored two goals and assisted three, becoming England’s leading goal scorer after also scoring in the 1-0 victory over Denmark.
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Rank 40th in the world, Nigeria finished second in their group and have kept two clean sheets so far in the tournament.
While she has not played 90 minutes since returning from injury, Asisat Oshoala scored Nigeria’s winner against Australia off the bench.
In a group that included Olympic champions Canada, co-hosts Australia, and debutants Ireland, she could be a key player.
Nigeria is buzzing already with what we have accomplished,” Waldrum said. There was no expectation that we would achieve the results we did.”
It would be something extremely special if we beat the European champions. It could have a lot of repercussions back home.”
He said Wiegman had done “great things” since taking over the Lionesses, but that African football had “a lot of talent” so England should be cautious.
Currently ranked third, Nigeria is hoping to become the first African team to win a knockout match at the Women’s World Cup.
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People outside of Africa are probably shocked, but Africans really aren’t,” he said of the investment they’re making now.
As a result, the so-called ‘underdogs’ come in more tactically prepared. Maybe some teams underestimated that and have found out it’s not as easy as anticipated.
Hopefully it means more federations are investing in women’s football – but we need to do more.”
Their 14 Women’s World Cup matches against European opposition have yielded just one victory, but players like Ashleigh Plumptre, who switched nationalities in 2022, and Barcelona’s Oshoala have provided valuable experience.
In Australia and New Zealand, former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis predicts the following:
This World Cup has taken a different turn than England probably expected, paving the way for a much easier path to the semi-finals. Due to the fact that Germany and Brazil are out of the tournament, the winner of this tie will play Colombia or Jamaica in the next round.
That would be foolish, however, since they must first defeat Nigeria, and Nigeria will be a very hard team to score against. It is impossible for them to take anything for granted.
The Lionesses will have to be careful of Nigeria’s threat on the break, as Nigeria will surrender possession, so they will see a lot of the ball like they did against China.
It is good to know that England has faced many teams like this in the past, and they will be ready to face them once again.
It seems like the Lionesses will be able to break down Nigeria with so many attacking options now.
According to Brown-Finnis, the score will be 2-0