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Nigeria battles hosts in Rennes for survival

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Nigeria’s Desire Oparanozie (right) outjumps South Korea’s Hwang Bo-ram for the ball during their France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group A match on June 12, 2019. The Super Falcons must be at their best against France if they must get the draw they require to progress in the competition…today. PHOTO: AFP. AFP.

Nigeria will this afternoon face its biggest task at the on-going FIFA Women World Cup in France when it faces the hosts in its last group match.

The Super Falcons lost their opening game against Norway 0-3, beat Korea Republic 2-0 in the second game and so needs at least a draw to retain hopes of advancing to the second round.

The game against France, who has already qualified for the second round after two wins, will hold at the 28,000 –capacity Roazhon Park in Rennes.

Yesterday, Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Thomas Dennerby took his charges through a pre-match final training session at the Stade Edmund Blanchet and reiterated that a positive mindset, as well as a calm, collected and surefooted approach can work wonders for the Falcons against the French.

“This is an important game for us and I believe you can rise to the occasion just as you did against the Koreans. The French have a good team but we are also a good squad and I think we can get a result if we have that mindset that it is 11 players against 11 and we stick to our tactics for the day.

“Victory against the Koreans was very good. But I can assure that beating France would be even sweeter. It will certainly take us to the knockout stage and also win us that confidence that we can prevail against any team.”

Nigeria’s power-playing trio – Desire Oparanozie, Rita Chikwelu and Francisca Ordega – all must play with caution as they are each on a yellow card and would be ruled out of the Round of 16 if they are cautioned against the Les Bleues.

Yet, the African champions refuse to be bothered by this and captain Desire Oparanozie told thenff.com they know the approach to adopt in Rennes.

“The win over Korea Republic taught us that so much is possible if we put our minds to it and we work hard. There is nothing to fear. We will go in there against France and give our best, and we are confident that our best will be good enough to take us to the next round.”

Assistant captain and goal-poacher, Asisat Oshoala is banking on the confidence restored to the group by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick to survive against the French today.

Oshoala said Pinnick played a huge role in the team’s confidence-restoring victory over Korea Republic in their second group match of the competition.

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