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 even as head coach Thomas Dennerby acknowledged the team has to work harder ahead of the World Cup.
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).
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.”