By Tunde Sulaiman
The gallant run of the Super Falconets at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Japan ended Tuesday morning after losing 2-0 to the United States.
The Nigerians, beaten finalists at the last tournament in Germany two years ago, dominated for large part of the game, played at the National Stadium in Tokyo, but just failed to turn their possession into clear cut goal scoring chances.
The US, which lost to Nigerian on penalties at Germany 2010, made sure that there would be no repeat of that heartbreak taking the lead in the 22nd minute through an unmarked Morgan Brian and made sure 20 minutes to the end of the game through a brilliant strike by Kealia Ohai.
Ironically Desire Oparanozie, the star of Nigeria’s 1-0 quarter-final win over Mexico, was one of the worst culprits on Tuesday with her selfish play often failing to pass to better placed colleagues.
A clearly frustrated Coach Edwin Okon yanked her off with 18 minutes to go but even her replacement, Orji was unable to make any difference.
In the end despite having 58 percent of the play, Nigeria was just unable to get the better of the Americans who will now play the winner of second semi-final between hosts, Japan and champions, Germany in the final on Saturday.
On their part, the Falconets still have a chance to return from Japan with at least a bronze medal because they will play the loser of the second semi-final in the third-placed play off match on Saturday.