Nigeria’s Women U-20 team, the Falconets’ scintillating runs at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica came to an end on Sunday as the was knocked out at the Quarter Finals stage by a 2-0 loss to The Netherlands .
The Falconets, who won all their three group phase matches, failed to enact their winning form in the quarter-final match played in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
The team started the match on a brillant note with Flourish Sabastine, who scored Nigeria’s winning goal against France in their Group C opening match, missing a good scoring chance in the seventh minute.
However, the Dutch after pulling away on the counter-attack, converted their chance in the eleventh minute when Zera Hulswit hit a perfect dipping shot beyond Omini Oyono, in the Falconets’ goal.
Nigeria again had a scoring chance in the 15th minute, when Sabastine’s shot was tipped over the bar by Dutch goalkeeper Claire Dinkla.
On the half-hour, Nigeria nearly got the equalizer as the Dutch defence fell into confusion. But when Deborah Abiodun’s shot from 25 metres rocked the crossbar and was then tipped away from the head of Chiamaka Okwuchukwu.
Unfortunately, the Dutch in the 33th minute doubled their lead after breaking through the right once more. With team captain Oluwatosin Demehin and Omowumi Oshobukola in a fumble, Ziva Henry bundled the ball past Oyono.
Substitute Joy Jerry came close to pulling one back when her head met the ball from Rofiat Imuran’s cross in the 62nd minute, but the ball floated away.
In the second minute of added time, a Dutch defender handled the ball in the box as Nigeria poured forward.
But after consulting the Video Assistant Referee, Costa Rican official Marianela Araya overturned her own decision to award a penalty kick.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that defeat meant elimination for a team that had won all three group phase matches, scoring five goals and conceding only one.
The Netherlands will now meet Spain on Thursday in the first semi-final fixture, after the European side beat Mexico 1-0 in the first quarter-final match on Saturday.
Brazil who also won 1-0 against Colombia on Saturday in the second quarter-final match await the winners of the fourth quarter-final match fixture between defending champions Japan and France.