The Nigerian ladies raised hopes with their exhilarating displays in the group stage, but they fell short in their first game of the knockout stage. Two first half goals by Zera Hulswit and Ziva Henry in the 11th and 33rd minutes punished the Nigerian side that were unusually sloppy in the defence.
- Cc: Football Afrique.
Result: Nigeria vs Netherlands FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – as it happened.
Having won all of their three group games, including an opening-day shocker against France, the Super Falconets were handed a quarterfinal tie against the Netherlands, who finished second in their group.
But, they were pegged back early in the game, as an eleventh-minute volley into the top right corner by Zera Hilswit gave the Dutch ladies the lead after a poor clearance from Falconets skipper Blessing Demehin.
The Super Falconets tried to pull one back after falling behind, but they were very unlucky, as strikes from Abiodun Deborah, Mercy Idoko, and Flourish Chioma failed to beat the Dutch goalkeeper, especially Abiodun who saw her long range shot hit the crossbar.
Nigeria went 2-0 behind in the 33rd minute when Ziva Henry capitalised on a mistake from the Nigerian defense to make it a long night for the Falconets.
Ever reliable captain Blessing Demehin was at fault for the goal again after she failed to clear the ball that deflected kindly to her feet, although the first strike by the Dutch side was a product of pure magic when Hulswit expertly found the back of the net from the edge of the box.
Nigeria kept pushing to get back into the game, but all their efforts amounted to nothing. It was until the 93rd minutes Super Falconets thought they were given a lifeline when the referee awarded them a penalty in stoppage time.
But, The Africans who were beaten finalists in the tournament in 2010 and 2014 respectively – both to Germany – hopes were dashed after the decision was overturned following the VAR review.
The Netherlands advance to face Spain in the last four, which will serve as their first-ever semifinal appearance in the history of the competition.