Sweden VS Nigeria Match Preview

desire-oparanozie-asisat-oshoala-ngozi-okobi_1lioo3uuzbulk1m2n95pp98fc6The young sensation returns to the country where she won top awards at the U20 World Cup in 2014 seeking victory with the senior side

Nigeria Women open their Fifa Women’s World Cup campaign against Sweden at the Winnipeg Stadium on Monday night, with Asisat Oshoala set to return to familiar grounds.

The 21-year-old was named best player at the 2014 Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup in Canada and has not relented since. She was named best player at the African Women Championship late last year and moved to Liverpool in England early in 2015.

Personal accolades have come with delivering top notch performances that have propelled the national teams to glory.

She failed to deliver the U20 World Cup last year, narrowly losing to Germany in the final, but helped Nigeria regain the African title in Namibia as they defeated Cameroon 2-0.

The former Rivers Angels star insists she is under no pressure to set the stage alight not minding the opponent.

“For us, we do not know the word pressure. We do our best and just pray for mother luck. We have all it takes to go all the way and take the Cup back to Nigeria,” Oshoala told Goal.

“I was expecting any [oppostition] because it’s called draws – anything can happen. The teams [USA, Sweden and Australia] are no threat to us all.

“We have more than enough good players who will make Nigeria progress from the group stage. I believe we have the capacity to advance and nothing to fear.

“We can’t go to the World Cup to merely add to the numbers, but we’re going there to participate and to prove a point.

“I can’t say right away how far we’ll go at the World Cup, but I’m positive we won’t disappoint Nigerians when hostilities start in Canada,” she said.

Pia Sundhage’s side holds the edge over the Africans with Nigeria losing four of their last five successive World Cup games. They last won 1-0 against 2015 hosts Canada in 2011. While Sweden only lost one and won four of the last five.

The African champions boast of a well-built, formidable attack and physical defensive unit with Desire Oparanozie expected to lead the frontline with Oshoala, Francisca Ordega and Ngozi Okobi just behind in attacking midfield positions as part of coach Edwin Okon’s settled line-up.

The Super Falcons bring an even stronger team to this year’s World Cup. Oshoala, the BBC women footballer of the year, has established herself as a star for Liverpool in England, while 21-year-old Oparanozie is coming off an 11-goal season for Guingamp in France.

Washington Spirit attacker Ordega (21) and Oklahoma State University striker Courtney Dike give the team enviable depth going forward.

The Falcons’ defence will undoubtedly have more to do in Canada than they did in Namibia and coach Okon can depend on veteran Onome Ebi and Osinachi Ohale to marshal the defence.

Sweden on their own part staged a return to the competition with a number of stars performing at their peak.

Lotta Schelin’s precision leading the attack makes her a prototypical number nine. Kosovare Asallani provides a creative element in midfield, while Caroline Seger provides both resilience and goals.

Nilla Fischer is considered by many to be the world’s best in central defence.

Nevertheless, the African powerhouse will seek to upset all odds to record an epic opening at the Fifa Women’s World Cup by conquering the European giants to win their first match in Canada.

Korea Republic referee RI Hyang Ok will be assisted by Hong Kum Nyo, Kim Kyoung Min, Abirami Apbai Naidu to officiate the match.

The encounter between Nigeria and Sweden comes up on Monday, June 8 at 9pm Nigerian time.

NaijaBet Odds

As at this post, Sweden has 1. 48 to win the match on NaijaBet, while Nigeria has 6.60 to win the match also, to draw is 4.60.

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