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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Last chance as Banyana Banyana quest for Women’s World Cup Round of 16

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South Africa’s Banyana Banyana have a last chance of joining Nigeria as African team crossing the group stage of the Women’s Word Cup.

A fascinating encounter awaits in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara as South Africa meet Italy in a Group G match, with the two teams and Argentina competing to join Sweden, who have already qualified for the knockout stage.

In their second match of the 2023 finals against Argentina, South Africa picked up their first-ever point in a FIFA Women’s World Cup match, having lost their previous four matches in the competition.

That point will give them a huge boost in confidence. They are aiming to reach the knockout rounds of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time and they will need to win this game to have a chance of doing so.

Italy have qualified for the knockout rounds in two of their previous three FIFA Women’s World Cup participations and they can make it three in four with a victory here.

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They will, however, have to bounce back from a 5-0 loss at the hands of Sweden last time out. A draw will see them reach the round of 16, as long as Argentina do not beat Sweden in the other match in Group H, though victory will make the other result irrelevant.

  • Last meeting:

09/08/2008, Sweden 1-0 Argentina, Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008, Tianjin Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Tianjin (China)

KEY FACTS

  • South Africa have lost their previous three FIFA Women’s World Cup matches against European opposition.
  • South Africa scored two goals against Argentina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup match for the first time.
  • South Africa have scored the first goal in three of their five FIFA Women’s World Cup matches.
  • Italy’s only previous FIFA Women’s World Cup match against African opposition was a 1-0 victory against Nigeria in the group stage in 1991.
  • Italy have never lost successive matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage.

SOUTH AFRICA TEAM FACTS

  • Overall record: Play5, Win 0, Draw 1, Lost 4, Goals For: 4, Goals Against 12, Goal Difference: -8
  • Biggest win: nil
  • Biggest defeat:South Africa 0-1Germany (17/06/2019)
  • Highest scoring match: 4 goals – Spain 3-1 South Africa (08/06/2019), South Africa 0-4 Germany (17/06/2019)and Argentina 2-2 South Africa (28/07/2023) Most goals scored in a match: 1 – Spain 3-1 South Africa (08/06/2019)/Sweden 2-1 South Africa (23/07/2023)/Argentina 2-2 South Africa (28/07/2023)
  • Most goals conceded in a match: 4 – South Africa 0-4 Germany (17/06/2019)
  • Most goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 3 –2023 (2 matches)
  • Fewest goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 1 – 2019 (3 matches)
  • Most goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 8 – 2019 (3 matches)
  • Fewest goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 4 – 2023 (2 matches)

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP STREAKS

  • Successive wins: 0
  • Successive defeats: 4 (2019-2023)
  • Successive draws: 1 (2023-present)
  • Successive matches without a defeat: 1 (2023-present)
  • Successive matches without a win: 5 (2019-present)
  • Successive matches with a goal scored: 2 (2023-present)
  • Successive matches without scoring: 2 (2019)
  • Successive clean sheets: 0

ITALY TEAM FACTS

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TEAM RECORDS

  • Overall record: Play14, Win 7, Draw 1, Lost 6, Goals For 21, Goals Against 17, Goal Difference: 4
  • Biggest win: Italy 5-0 Chinese Taipei (17/11/1991), Italy 5-0 Jamaica (14/06/2019)
  • Biggest defeat:Italy 0-5Sweden (29/07/2023)
  • Highest scoring match: 5 goals – Italy 5-0 Chinese Taipei (17/11/1991), Italy 5-0 Jamaica (14/06/2019), Norway 3-2 Italy (24/11/1991)and Italy 0-5 Sweden (29/07/2023)
  • Most goals scored in a match: 5 – Italy 5-0 Chinese Taipei (17/11/1991)/Italy 5-0 Jamaica (14/06/2019)
  • Most goals conceded in a match: 5 – Italy 0-5 Sweden (29/07/2023)
  • Most goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 9 – 2019 (5 matches)
  • Fewest goals scored at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 3 – 1999 (3 matches)
  • Most goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 5 – 1991 (4 matches)and 2023-present (2 matches)
  • Fewest goals conceded at a FIFA Women’s World Cup: 3 – 1999 (3 matches)

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP STREAKS

  • Successive wins: 3 (1999-2019)
  • Successive defeats: 2 (1991)
  • Successive draws: 1 (1999)
  • Successive matches without a defeat: 3 (1999-2019)
  • Successive matches without a win: 4 (1991-1999)
  • Successive matches with a goal scored: 3 (1999-2019)
  • Successive matches without scoring: 1 (five times, the last time was 2023-present)
  • Successive clean sheets: 2 (1991)

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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