Falcons to know World Cup opponents today
African champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria will today know their group opponents in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup holding in France.
The world football governing body, FIFA, yesterday released its latest ranking, and the Super Falcons slide one spot to place 39th ahead of the Lionesses of Cameroon (46th) and Banyana Banyana of South Africa, who are ranked 48th.
The USA will go into today’s draw as ranking leaders after strengthening their hold on top spot, while hosts France (3rd, up 1) have swapped places with England (4th, down 1).
The Netherlands (7th, up 3) are the top 20’s biggest climbers, having gained ground – and reached a record points total – on the back of impressive play-off victories over both Denmark (17th, down 1) and Switzerland (18th, unchanged).
The Jamaicans are looking forward to their first Women’s World Cup draw, while Panama missed out after losing to Argentina (36th, up 1) in an intercontinental play-off.
There is consolation, too, for some other nations who suffered near misses in World Cup qualifying.
Zambia (114th, up 2) have collected this month’s highest points total (66) after causing upsets against Equatorial Guinea (70th, down 16) and South Africa (48th, up 2) in the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Former African champions, Equatorial Guinea (70th, down 16), was one of the nations that suffered the biggest drop by ranks.
The Super Falcons have qualified for all editions of the FIFA Women’s World since its inception at China ’91, but their best achievement was at USA ’99, where the team led by coach Ismaila Mabo reached the quarterfinal. Brazil, led by veteran playmaker, Sissi, ran out to a 3-0 lead in the first 35 minutes, but the Falcons, captained by Florence Omagbemi drew level at 3-3 before a 104th-minute golden goal, a free kick by Sissi, did the damage.