FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. Group B Thursday 27 July | Brisbane Stadium Australia v Nigeria

The match

With 30 world ranking places between them, Australia are favourites to overcome Nigeria in their second game at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™. Nonetheless, the co-hosts cannot afford to be complacent.


Tony Gustavsson’s got off to a winning start, beating Republic of Ireland 1-0. They didn’t have things all their way, though, and the last quarter of the game was particularly nervy for Matildas fans as the Irish sustained pressure in search of a leveller.

Meanwhile, the Super Falcons will be feeling confident after holding Canada to a scoreless draw in their opening fixture. They were solid in defence, restricting their high-quality opponents to only two shots on target, and regularly threatened to nick a goal of their own. Goalkeeper Nnadozie Chiamaka was the hero after saving a penalty in the second half.


It is shaping up to be a crucial clash in the context of Group B. Victory secures Australia’s place in the round of 16. Nigeria, meanwhile, will be hoping to spring a surprise and keep their FIFA Women’s World Cup™ campaign alive.

Team news

Sam Kerr’s absence with a calf injury picked up the day before the tournament has dominated the headlines. Her availability is due to be reassessed for the rest of the tournament at a later date, but the Australian camp has already confirmed she will miss this fixture.


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The Matildas typically start in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but have a 4-3-3 or even a 5-4-1 in their toolkit when required. Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord will likely reprise her role as Kerr’s replacement in the No9 role, with 20-year-old Mary Fowler playing centrally behind her.

Nigeria will be without midfielder Deborah Abiodun after she was shown a red card in the eighth minute of stoppage time against Canada. She will be missed in midfield but Nigeria otherwise have a full complement of players to choose from.

Randy Waldrum lined up his side in a 4-3-3 against Canada and is expected to do the same throughout the tournament. It is a system designed to use the pace of the front three to catch out teams on the counter.


Players to watch

Caitlin Foord (Australia) The 28-year-old has been in scintillating form. She had 18 goal contributions in 26 games across all competitions for Arsenal in 2022/23, and the forward has arguably been the Matildas’ most important player in that time. A minor hamstring injury in April disrupted her preparations, but she carried no fitness concerns into Australia & New Zealand 2023.

The absence of her good friend Kerr means Foord will be the focal point of the attack against Nigeria. The Young Player of the Tournament at Germany 2011 has come of age, and is crucial to her nation’s hopes.

Francisca Ordega (Nigeria) While Tony Gustavsson’s team will be focused on stopping Asisat Oshoala, they will do well to not forget about the threat of Francisca Ordega. The CSKA Moscow forward likes to use her pace to get in behind and provides a constant headache for defenders.

In 2016/17 she played six games for Sydney FC in the A-League Women alongside Matildas’ squad members Foord, Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy. She will be hoping her Super Falcons can get one over her old team-mates on Thursday evening.


Facts and Figures

  • Nigeria are one of seven teams to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™. Australia have appeared at all but one, China 1991.

  • Both teams are yet to score from open play at Australia & New Zealand 2023.

  • The Super Falcons are the most successful team in Africa, 11-time champions at Women’s African Cup of Nations.

  • Tony Gustavsson’s side have won ten of their last 11 games, including four against top-ten opposition.

  • Onome Ebi (40y 80d) could become Nigeria’s oldest player to make an appearance at a global finals.

  • Australia have progressed to the knockout stage at each of the last four editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

  • Nigeria have won only two of their last 18 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ matches (D3 L13).


“What we have in front of us, as we said when we saw the draw, is three very unique opponents from a football tactical perspective. The Nigeria game is going to be something completely different [from Ireland] in that sense.” Tony Gustavsson, Australia coach

“This first game was about getting over the nerves and the hype and getting that out of us. We’ve done that, we won, we’ve got that box ticked. I think we’ll go into this next game against Nigeria on Thursday a little bit more prepared and ready.” Hayley Raso, Australia winger

“It’s going to be a difficult game. We’re playing against the host team, in a packed stadium. We’re going to come up against a lot of factors on that day. But I think we’ve got this. We’ve done it in big games, we’ve done it against big teams, and I trust the whole team. We have the capacity, we have the talent, we have the energy, we have the strategy. We just have to bring in our A-game and it just might be a very fun game.” Rasheedat Ajibade, Nigeria forward


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