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Nigeria Super Falcons will have to wait till Thursday to be sure of a probable Round of 16 qualification after going down 0-1 to hosts, France, through a retaken penalty kick on Monday night.

The Nigerian side, the obvious underdog of the encounter played defensively to frustrate the home side ho had to wait till late in the second half to get a penalty kick that decided the game.

The penalty goal by France

And so, for the first time in the history of the competition, France won all three group games. If Nigeria eventual qualify, an explosive pairing with Germany will be on the card.

Already, 12 teams have picked qualifications, leaving four slots to be taken. Of the four slots to be contested for by the six third place finishers in the group, China in Group B are likely beneficiaries having obtained four points as against Nigeria’s three.

Nigeria will have to contest Australia, which also have three points going into their final group match against bottom-placed and pointless Jamaica in Group C.


Nigeria will hope Argentina should not win their final match in Group D as the South Americans who will face Scotland have just a point. A win over pointless Scotland gives Argentina a edge over Nigeria.

Scotland on the other hand may edge Nigeria out if they beat Argentina by a three-goal margin

Cameroon in third position in Group E have no point yet and have a goal deficit of three. The Nigerian eastern neighbours will have to win by at least four goals in their final match with equally pointless New Zealand to upstage Nigeria in the struggle for Round of 16 ticket.

The complexion in Group F also favours Nigeria as both Thailand and Chile, both with no points and heavy goal deficit of 17 and five respectively no realistic chance of getting a slot, even if any of them places third.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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