An under-strength Super Falcons were afforded a clear view of how intense things could get at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this summer when losing 0-3 to China in their first match of a Four-Nation Tournament ongoing in Miezhou Thursday.
China’s Steel Roses were in front after only 10 minutes and then rocked Nigeria’s net in the 65th and 92nd minutes to condemn the nine-time African champions to defeat at the Huitang Stadium.
Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, carrying on from where she left off at the Women Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, made a number of commendable saves, but the onslaughts were relentless from a Chinese squad that played about 10 friendly games in Australia last month.
Zhang Rui got China’s first in the 10th minute, before Li Ying got a brace in the 65th and 92nd minutes to give the 13, 618 spectators joy.
Nigeria clearly missed immediate past African Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, as well as left back Ngozi Ebere and power forward Desire Oparanozie who could not make it to the Far East.
Nigeria will now take on Romania, who lost by the same margin to Korea Republic earlier on Thursday, in Sunday’s third place match also at the Huitang Stadium. The match will begin at 3pm China time (8am Nigeria time).
Super Falcons coach, Thomas Dennerby said: “We are here to prepare for the FIFA World Cup and we are learning a lot. I have always said that we need to play as many friendly matches as possible.
“I believe we need to work extremely hard in the next five months before the World Cup.”
South Korea goals against Romania came from three different players — forwards Yeo Min-ji, Jung Seol-bin and Lee Geum-min — in a breezy victory at the Four Nations Tournament.
Yeo opened the scoring in the 38th minute for her first international goal since March 2015. Yeo, the leading scorer at the 2010 Under-17 Women’s World Cup for the champions South Korea, earned her first cap in nearly two years.
Jung doubled the lead six minutes later with her 21st career goal. Lee rounded out the scoring at the hour mark.
The Koreans are the top-ranked team in this tournament at 14th , followed by China at 15th. Nigeria is ranked 39th with Romania standing at 41st.
Coached by Yoon Duk-yeo, the South Koreans are also gearing up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off in June in France. South Korea and Nigeria are both in Group A, along with France and Norway.