FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup: Nigeria's Flamingos battle USA for semi-final ticket – Premium Times

Nigeria’s Flamingos battle USA for semi-final ticket
The stage is set for the first-ever meeting between USA and Nigeria at the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
The Flamingos and their American opponents seek a berth in the semifinal stage, having navigated through the group stage as runners-up and top finishers, respectively.
Friday’s quarter-final contest is billed for the D.Y.Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai with kickoff fixed for 12 noon Nigerian time.
For the Flamingos, the stakes are even higher, as no Nigerian team in past editions of this tournament has made it to the semi-final, let alone win the competition.
However, Coach Bankole Olowookere and his girls believe they can end the country’s 14-year wait for a last-four berth on their fourth quarterfinal appearance.
Though widely seen as superpowers in women’s football, the Americans do not boast of a fantastic record at this level either.
They also seek to reach the semis for the first time since 2008 when they finished as runners-up at the inaugural edition in New Zealand.
Having recovered from their shaky start against Germany, the Flamingos recorded back-to-back victories over New Zealand and Chile.
Many are keen to see how they will fare against the free-scoring American team which won two and drew one of their group-stage fixtures.
Among other qualities, the USA has a well-balanced side with the ability to build attacks from the back.
With overlapping fullbacks like Gisele Thompson and Savannah King, the Americans will try to threaten the Nigerian back line with their extensive wing play.
Onyeka Gamero and Taylor Suarez on the flanks have been excellent for the USA in the tournament and have what it takes to wreak havoc against Nigeria if allowed to operate freely.
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Despite going into Friday’s tie as the ‘underdogs’ the US team will be making a mistake to take the Flamingos for granted.
Over the group matches, Nigeria has shown boldness in its approach with growing momentum with each game.
With the likes of Miracle Usani, who has two goals in the tournament, Amina Bello, Taiwo Afolabi and Edidiong Etim, among others, Flamingos should give the USA a run for their money.
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Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter@tundeyeludini
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria

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