The Nigerian Flamingos defeated the United States on Friday to advance to their first-ever FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup semi-final.
After a 1-1 draw in the first 90 minutes of regulation time, the Flamingos prevailed 4-3 on penalties.
The Americans were considered the favorites going into the game, but Onamuzo Edafe gave Nigeria the lead just after the 25th minute. The VAR review had established that Amina Bello had been fouled, and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot.
Just before halftime, the Americans who applied pressure to the Nigerians were rewarded. Amalia Martina Villarreal’s goal in the 40th minute gave them the advantage once more.
Both teams attempted to score a second goal early in the second half, with the US controlling much of the action. However, no goal was scored, so a penalty shootout was necessary to determine who advanced to the semifinals.
On Wednesday, October 26th, 2022, Nigeria will take on the winner of the match between Tanzania and Colombia (held on Saturday).
Coach Olowookere Bankole made a double swap that many would categorize as tactical before the shootout. While Amina Bello was substituted and Offing Immaculate was added, he swapped Linda Jiwuaka for goalie Faith Omilana.
Linda saved the decisive penalty kick to give Nigeria a berth in the semifinals, so the swap ultimately paid off.
After the game, a happy Coach Bankole exclaimed that he is “here to create a lot of upset, to turn a lot of things.” He expressed gratitude to God and Nigerians for their assistance thus far and expressed faith in the ability of her girls to succeed.
Following the triumph, congratulations have been coming in, with CAF leading the pack.
“THIS IS JUST INCREDIBLE. Nigeria beat the USA and reach the #U17WWC semi-finals after a penalty shootout win,” CAF Women’s Football tweeted, sharing photos of the team celebrating the victory. “What an outstanding performance from the Flamingos.”
Due to bad weather, Friday’s game at the D.Y.Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai was postponed by almost two hours. In the arena, there were loud thunderclaps and lightning strikes.
The teams who had performed the national anthems were thereafter ordered back into the locker room as it began to rain. In addition, spectators were not ignored as they sought cover from the torrential downpour.