3rd September, 2012
Nigeria and USA go head-to-head tomorrow in the semi final of the Japan 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The winners will proceed to the final, while the losers would end their campaign in the third place match.
The Nigeria’s Falconets endured a nervy period in their 1-0 quarter-final win against Mexico, while the Americans also needed an extra time to oust Korea DPR in the last eight.
These travails do however mean that both the Falconets and the Stars and Stripes have proven that, in terms of mental toughness, they are a match for anyone. And, as it happens in football, victory may well go to the side that keeps their nerve, which Nigeria’s Desire Oparanozie and USA’s Chioma Ubogagu both did to score extra-time winners for their respective nations during the quarter finals.
However, Nigerian striker, Francisca Ordega has warned the Americans to prepare for a tough game in Tuesday’s semi final match.
Ordega, who have scored four goals so far in the tournament, said the Nigerian ladies are in high spirits and ready to take their opponents to the cleaners.
“My teammates and I are in good frame of mind to battle USA. We have been training hard for set pieces, penalty kicks in case our match goes beyond the regulation time. It’s going to be a tough match no doubt, but we are optimistic we will come out victorious,” said Ordega, who spoke from the team’s camp in Japan on StarF.M early today.
USA on the hand say they are ready to avenge the defeat of the last edition held in Germany 2010, where Nigeria knocked them out in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final.
“It’s going to be very tough, because Nigeria are quick, strong and skilful. So we’ll have to be very smart to neutralise those qualities,” said USA’s centre-back, Crystal Dunn, who told FIFA.com that “this tournament is certainly bringing back a lot of memories. I just hope that the end result is different and goes our way this time.”