BY DAVID ABIOLA TENIOLA
Highly –inspired Falconets of Nigeria are determined to proceed further at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals in Costa Rica and see The Netherlands as simply another mountain to climb to get closer to the diadem.
The Dutch, who emerged from a tough Group D that included the United States of America and Japan, eliminating the Americans in the process, would not be a walk in the park for Chris Musa’s girls, but the two-time runners-up say they are aware of this fact.
“The Dutch are a super-strong squad to have survived that group where the Americans were sent packing. In any event, any team in the quarter-finals must be a super-strong squad. We will not under-rate them, just as we did not under-rate any of France, Korea Republic and Canada.
“As I said at the beginning of the tournament, we are taking it one match at a time. Our overall plan for each of the games in the group phase worked well. And I believe that our overall plan for the match against The Netherlands will work as well,” Chris Musa said on Saturday.
An explosive encounter is anticipated at the Estadio Alajuela Morera Soto (the same venue where the Falconets brought down the challenges of the Korea Republic and Canada) as from 11.30pm Nigeria time on Sunday.
In the 20 –year history of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, Nigeria have played in the Championship Match twice, losing on both occasions to Germany, in Germany 12 years ago and in Canada eight years ago. In between, they reached the semi-finals in Japan 10 years ago.
Midfield powerhouse Esther Onyenezide, with three goals in the tournament, is expected to again be the driving force of the Nigeria game going forward, with pacy Flourish Sabastine and Blessing Okpe likely to start as the Falconets seek early goals, while workhorse Mercy Idoko and the duo of Deborah Abiodun and Bashirat Amoo would hold things tight in the middle.
Goalkeeper Omini Oyono is expected to be at her best as she is protected by captain Oluwatosin Demehin, Jumoke Alani, Omowumi Oshobukola and Rofiat Imuran.