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SPORTS UPDATE

Super Falcons depart USA, shift focus to Japan friendly

Nine-time African champions and FIFA World Cup ever-present, Super Falcons of Nigeria have flown out of the United States of America after a two-match tour in which they lost the second narrowly to three-time world champions USWNT.

Mexico –based forward Uchenna Kanu became the first Nigerian to score against the USWNT in 20 years when she slotted into the net in the 50th minute for the equalizer in the two teams’ second encounter at the Audi Field in Washington on Tuesday. The Americans won the first session in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday by four goals.

An own goal by defender Oluwatosin Demehin in the 25th minute had put Nigeria behind in the game, just minutes after goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made a double save from marauding USWNT attackers.

Rose Lavelle restored USA’s lead in the 66th minute when she nodded in at the far left of Nnadozie’s goal off a pull-out by Megan Rapino.

The delegation of Super Falcons departed from the United States on Wednesday, with focus now shifted to the friendly with Japan scheduled for next month.

The Falcons will take on the Senior Women National Team of Japan in a prestige international friendly match at the Noevir Stadium, Kobe on Thursday, 6th October. The date falls within one of the FIFA Women International Windows for this year.

Nadeshiko Japan, which is the alias of the Women National Team of Japan, are rated 13th in the world. Both teams have clashed only once at competitive level – at the 2004 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament. Nadeshiko pipped the Falcons 1-0 at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus on 14th August 2004.

Two back-to-back friendlies in 2013 were won 2-0 each by Nadeshiko.

Japan’s entertaining girls won the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2011, beating Team USA in a pulsating penalty shoot-out after regulation time ended 2-2. Nadeshiko thus became the first team from Asia to win a senior FIFA World Cup trophy.

The Super Falcons have participated in every FIFA Women’s World Cup finals since the competition began in 1991, reaching the quarter finals in 1999. They are one of the 32 teams that will take part in the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finals set for nine cities in Australia and New Zealand 20th July – 20th August 2023.

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