Nigeria stun Australia to go top of Group B, Netherlands & Portugal pile pressure on USA

Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala celebrates scoring a goal against Nigeria
Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria celebrates scoring her team's third goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup vs Australia (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Day eight of the 2023 World Cup did not disappoint as Nigeria handed Australia a shock defeat is Brisbane. A thrilling 3-2 win had everyone, including neutrals, at the edge of their seats as the Super Falcons powered their way to the top of Group B.

USA 1-1 Netherlands

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In arguably the most anticipated game so far, the USA were held to a draw by the Netherlands. An early goal from Jill Roord gave the Dutch the early lead. A 62nd minute equaliser from Lindsey Horan restored the tie, bagging the USA a vital point but the pressure is on for the reigning champions. Sitting level on points at the top of Group E, the two sides will need wins in their final group matches to guarantee their progression to the knockout stage. 

The USA will hope to improve their accuracy in front of goal having scored just one from 18 shots. Andries Jonker’s side will look to take all three points from Vietnam, whose exit from the competition was confirmed following their defeat to Portugal.

Portugal 2-0 Vietnam

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Two early goals for Portugal handed Francisco Neto’s side a crucial three points against Vietnam. The victory keeps Portugal’s dreams of progressing to the knockout stage alive ahead of their meeting with the USA. Vietnam’s failure to secure a point sees the side bow out of their debut Women’s World Cup.

Despite conceding two early goals, Vietnam did begin to gain some traction over the course of the game. Gaining longer spells of possession towards the end of the match, the World Cup debutants were unable to trouble Patricia Morais and her defence. Portugal will take several key lessons from the game into their meeting with the USA. A lack of composure in front of goal saw the Portuguese attempt numerous rushed long range efforts. 

However, with Portugal now on three points, both the USA and Netherlands must be sure to produce their best performances or they risk being elbowed out by Neto’s team.

Australia 2-3 Nigeria

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A frustrating opening half for the co-hosts saw Nigeria pull off a performance little short of a defensive masterclass. Last ditch tackles combined with impressive team unity saw Randy Waldrum’s side hold off Australia until well into injury time. Australia’s opener was followed just four minutes later by an equaliser from Uchenna Kanu.

The second half brought a completely different Nigeria side. A strong attacking presence saw the team go 3-1 ahead with less than twenty minutes to play. Alanna Kennedy bagged a late injury time goal for the Matildas, although the defender’s fifth international goal proved merely to be a consolation.

The victory sees Nigeria go top of Group B with Ireland still to face. Taking all three points from a strong Australia side will give the Super Falcons a boost as they look to progress to the knockouts. Asisat Oshoala made history with her goal by becoming the first African player to score at three different World Cups.

Australia must end their group stage campaign with a win over Canada to secure a top two finish. The Matildas will look to improve the link-ups between their forwards and midfield, with Hayley Raso frequently finding herself isolated at the top of the pitch.

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