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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Redemption or destruction: Zambia’s fate hang in the balance in Women’s World Cup clash with Spain

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At 8.30am Nigerian time on Wednesday, Zambia will clash with Spain in an encounter that may decide their fate in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Spain and Zambia experienced contrasting fortunes in their opening matches of Group C as the European side produced their biggest-ever victory in the competition’s history with the 3-0 victory over Costa Rica.  Zambia on the other hand, suffered a 0-5 loss to Japan.

Last week’s  three-goal victory will give Spain a huge confidence boost as they come into their second match knowing another victory in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau will put them in pole position to reach the round of 16.

In their debut match in the competition, Zambia held Japan at bay for the majority of the first half but a goal just before half-time dented their morale and four second-half goals saw them suffer defeat in their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup match.

They have played a number of friendlies against European opposition in the build-up to this tournament, including an excellent 3-2 win over Germany, and they will be looking to bounce back in positive fashion here.

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Here are statistics ahead of the clash.

  • Head-to-Head: Both are meeting for the first time ever.

Key facts

  • Spain have kept a clean sheet in their last two FIFA Women’s World Cup group matches.
  • With her goal against Costa Rica, Esther González became the oldest goalscorer for Spain in the FIFA Women’s World Cup at the age of 30 years and 225 days, claiming the record from Jennifer Hermoso (29 years and 46 days when she played against the USA in 2019).
  • In Spain’s opening match, Salma Paralluelo became the youngest ever player to represent the nation at the FIFA Women’s World Cup at 19 years and 250 days.
  • Irene Paredes and Alexia Putellas are the only players to have featured in all of Spain’s previous eight FIFA Women’s World Cup matches (3-2015, 4-2019, 1-2023).
  • Two of Zambia’s squad are attached to Spanish clubs: Hellen Mubanga (Zaragoza CFF) and Racheal Kundananji (Madrid CFF).

SPAIN TEAM FACTS

  • Overall record: Play8,  Win 2,  Draw 2,  Lost 4, Goals For 9, Goals Against 8,  Goal Difference: 1
  • Biggest win: Spain 3-0 Costa Rica (21/07/2023)
  • Biggest defeat: Spain 0-1Brazil (13/06/2015);  Spain 1-2 Korea Republic (17/06/2015),  Spain 0-1 Germany (12/06/2019) and Spain 2-1 USA (24/06/2019)
  • Highest scoring match: 4 goals – Spain 3-1 South Africa (08/06/2019)
  • Most goals scored in a match: 3 – Spain 3-1 South Africa (08/06/2019), Spain 3-0 Costa Rica (21/07/2023)
  • Most goals conceded in a match: 2 – Korea Republic 2-1 Spain (17/06/2015), Spain 1-2 USA (24/06/2019)
  • Most goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 4 – 2019 (4 matches)
  • Fewest goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 2 – 2015 (3 matches)
  • Most goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 4 – 2015 (3 matches)/2019 (4 matches)
  • Fewest goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 4 – 2015 (3 matches)/2019 (4 matches)

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP STREAKS

  • Successive wins: 1 (2019 and 2023-present)
  • Successive defeats: 2 (2015)
  • Successive draws: 1 (2015 and 2019)
  • Successive matches without a defeat: 1 (four times, most recently 2023-present)
  • Successive matches without a win: 3 (2015 and 2019)
  • Successive matches with a goal scored: 2 (2015-2019)
  • Successive matches without scoring: 2 (2019)
  • Successive clean sheets: 1 (2019 and 2023-present)

ZAMBIA TEAM FACTS

  • Overall record: Play1, Win 0,  Draw 0, Lost 1, Goals For: 0, Goal Against: 5,  Goal Difference: -5
  • Biggest win: Nil
  • Biggest defeat: Zambia 0-5Japan (22/07/2023)
  • Highest scoring match:5 goals – Zambia 0-5 Japan (22/07/2023)
  • Most goals scored in a match: 0
  • Most goals conceded in a match: 5 – Zambia 0-5 Japan (22/07/2023)
  • Most goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 0
  • Fewest goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 0
  • Most goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 5 (2023 – 1 match)
  • Fewest goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 5 (2023 – 1 match)

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP STREAKS

  • Successive wins: 0
  • Successive defeats: 1 (2023-present)
  • Successive draws: 0
  • Successive matches without a defeat: 0
  • Successive matches without a win: 1 (2023-present)
  • Successive matches with a goal scored: 0 Successive matches without scoring: 1 (2023-present)
  • Successive clean sheets: 0

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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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.

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The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

‘It shall be showers of goals’, vows Flamingos ahead of Liberia clash

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Head Coach Bankole Olowookere is confident that the Nigeria U17 girls, Flamingos, will not take their feet off the pedal when they take on their Liberian counterparts in a FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying match in Abuja on Friday.

“We are battle-ready for the match on Friday. The girls are raring to go because they want to go to the World Cup. They are already dreaming of flying to the Dominican Republic.

“There is so much excitement in camp, and they are self-assured. However, I have warned them that it is never over until it is over. There should be no display of over-confidence on the pitch. We must approach the match like the first leg was a drawn game.”

Nigeria won the first leg 4-1 in Monrovia on Sunday, with 11-goal qualifying series revelation Harmony Chidi, Shakirat Moshood, Peace Effiong and substitute Blessing Ifitezue banging in the goals for the Flamingos. The hosts got their consolation goal off a penalty awarded with five minutes left of the encounter at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The Flamingos will take part in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup for the seventh time once they cross Friday’s hurdle.

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They featured at the inaugural edition in New Zealand in 2008, and subsequently at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Azerbaijan 2012, Costa Rica 2014, Jordan 2016 and India 2022, where they won the bronze medals.  

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Flamingos hammer hosts Liberia 4-1, put one leg in World Cup finals

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FIFA World Cup bronze medallists Nigeria routed Liberia 4-1 in a fast-paced FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final qualifying round, first leg encounter in Monrovia on Sunday.

The Flamingos got off to a pretty quick start at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex at the Paynesville, but the Liberian girls, who shocked Senegal on the away-goal rule to reach this final round, warded off the early threats.

Nigeria got the ball into the net after 14 minutes, but Chadian referee Lare Lamngar ruled it off. Not to be deterred or discouraged, the Flamingos poured forward once again, and in the 19th minute, Shakirat Moshood opened the scoring from a sweet solo run.

Peace Effiong, who got a brace in the 6-0 defeat of Burkina Faso at the MKO Abiola National Stadium last month, scored in the 29th minute to put a wedge of respect between the two teams.

Usual suspect Harmony Chidi, scorer of six of the 12 goals that sank the Central African Republic, and who equally netted four in the 7-1 dismissal of Burkina Faso in the last round, headed home her 11th goal of the qualifying series in the 36th minute to put daylight between both teams.

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On resumption, Nigeria continued to dominate, and substitute Blessing Ifitezue made it four with 16 minutes left.

Liberia scored a consolation goal with five minutes left, from the penalty spot, through Yassah Gwaikolo, after substitute Onyedikachi Ekezie was adjudged to have committed a foul in the area.

The Flamingos will return to Nigeria on Tuesday, and immediately commence preparations for the return leg encounter scheduled for Friday at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

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