By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women Football Journalist
Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team, Flamingos on Tuesday started their campaign in the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup final in India on a wrong footing, losing 2-1 to their opponents, Germany despite going in front in the 30th minute courtesy of a well taken free-kick on the edge of the penalty box by midfielder, Miracle Usani.
The goal was a rude awakening for the Germans who launched several attacks on the Flamingos to get their needed equaliser but they could not breach Nigeria’s backline until the end of first half.
On resumption, the Germans came at the Flamingos with great intensity and it took them only four minutes for forward Svea Stoldt to score the equaliser in the 49 minute after she was assisted by Alara Şehitler.
Germany made it two goals through attacker Mara Alber in the 61 minute just as the Nigerians battled time and again to score but the Germans proved a hard nut to crack and score remained the same till the end of the match.
Elsewhere, Chile and Brazil also opened the tournament with victories as the South American nations especially Chile crushed their Group B opponents New Zealand 3-1 to start the tournament on an impressive note.
Two first-half goals from Ambar Figueroa and Tali Rovner set the pace for a 3-1 win by Chile. Constanza Oliver in the 12th minute assisted Ambar Figueroa for Chile’s first goal of the game and tournament.
Ten minutes later, it was the turn of Tali Rovner to score her first goal of the tournament as she doubled her side’s lead from the penalty spot.
But Emily Clegg in the 52nd minute reduced New Zealand’s deficit but the goal couldn’t prevent Chile from restoring its two-goal lead in the 64th minute.
Natsumy Millones in the 64th minute set up Anais Cifuentes who scored Chile’s third goal.
Chile moved to the top of Group B with three points plus two goals ahead of Germany with three points plus one goal as New Zealand and Nigeria stay without points.
Also, another African team, Morocco lost to Brazil in their opening match as Jhonson’s 5th goal was all the South American country needed to get their up to a flying start.
Meanwhile, the biggest win of the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is the 8-0 whitewash of host nation, India by Team USA in a one-sided match which saw the Americans going up 5-0 in the first half.
India girls tutored by former Super Falcons Head Coach Thomas Dennerby conceded three more goals in the second half even as goals could have been more if the Americans had converted their chances.
Below are Team USA scorers:
1-09′ M. Rebimbas ( R. Jackson)
2- 15′ C. Kohler ( R. Jackson)
3- 23′ O. Gamero
4- 31′ M. Rebimbas
5- 39′ G. Thompson
6- 51′ E. Emri ( M. Bhuta)
7- 59′ T. Suarez (PK)
8- 62′ M. Bhuta ( C. Kohler).