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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Women’s World Cup: England’s Bronze dreams gold

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 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Semi Final - Australia v England - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 16, 2023 England's Lucy Bronze in action with Australia's Caitlin Foord REUTERS/Carl Recine/File photo Acquire Licensing Right  

Right back Lucy Bronze believes England’s experience in winning a major final at last year’s Euros could be crucial in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup title-decider against a Spain side she knows well.

Bronze, Asisat Oshoala’s teammate at Barcelona, lost World Cup semi-finals with England in 2015 and 2019 but was a core member of the Lionesses team that beat Germany to win a first major title at the European Championship last year.

The 31-year-old, who plays her club football in Spain for Barcelona, was again a rock in defence on Wednesday when England neutralised a big crowd in Sydney to beat co-hosts Australia 3-1 and reach their first World Cup final.

“We’re going up against a team I personally know very well,” Bronze told reporters after the match.

“We know how to win finals. That’s something Spain doesn’t have that we have. That’s an experience that not only I have but many of these England players have …

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“I’m excited,” she added. “I’m really good friends with a couple of them, my team mates in Barcelona, myself and Keira (Walsh) know them very well.

“We’ve been speaking to them throughout the tournament and even before the tournament started we had a joke, saying, ‘We’ll see you in the final,’ and that’s come true.”

England needed a huge defensive effort and were forced to come from a goal down to beat Spain in extra time in the quarter-finals of last year’s Euros.

Although they arrived at the World Cup as one of the favourites, they came without key players because of injury and then lost one of their best performers, Lauren James, to a ban after she was shown a red card in their match against Nigeria.

Bronze said England’s resilience in the face of such setbacks would also hold them in good stead back at Stadium Australia on Sunday.

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“The strength of this team is we stick together, we’ve got an incredibly tight bond, we’ve got a tight-knit team,” she said.

“Winning the Euros last gave us a huge amount of confidence but we’ve suffered a few losses this year in terms of big players, a lot of noise on the outside and it’s just pushed us closer together.

“Before the tournament, people had us down to get knocked out in the group or something, and now we’re in the final.”

-Reuters

 

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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

Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

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The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

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Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

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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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