Nigeria’s U-20 female national team, Falconets yesterday lost to perennial conquerors, Germany in their opening game of the on-going France 2018 FIFA U-20 Women World Cup. But the girls have themselves to blame for the loss as they held the 2010 and 2014 champions for a better part of the Group D game held in Saint Malo.
Stefanie Sanders was gifted acres of space in the six –yard area to slam into the net from a corner kick even after inspired goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie had made two consecutive saves.
The Falconets, runners-up in 2010 and 2014 and semi finalists in 2012, had their own opportunities to get on the scoresheet but Anam Imo and Peace Efih were somewhat unlucky.
Victory shot the Germans top of the Group D table ahead of the clash between Haiti and China.
The Falconets turned out in Nigeria’s new NIKE outfits and fought hard and confidently on the turf of Stade de Marville. Germany pushed hard and relentlessly in the opening half, but could find no breakthrough as a brilliant Nnadozie, with defenders Glory Ogbonna, Oluwakemi Famuditi and Sunday Opeyemi, kept things tight at the rear.
Nigeria should have levelled three minutes after the Germans shot ahead, but Peace Efih’s swerving shot rocked the upright with the goalkeeper stranded.
Next up for the Falconets is an encounter with their Haitian counterparts, at the same venue on Thursday, before another potentially –explosive encounter with China in Dinan/Léhon on Monday next week.