The flamingos have well and truly made their mark at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™ for the first time in their history; the Africans clinched a place on the podium with a thrilling win over Germany in the match for third place. It came on penalties, after the two sides had played out a very entertaining 3-3 draw in normal time. The furthest the Nigerians had progressed at the U-17 world finals before now was the quarter-finals, a stage they reached in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Their record-breaking India 2022 campaign included wins over New Zealand and Chile in the group phase, followed by a penalty-shootout defeat of USA in the last eight. While their last-four encounter with Colombia once again went to a shootout after remaining goalless for 90 minutes, this time it was the Nigerians who came out on the losing side in a defeat they found difficult to process. Yet once their opponents in the third place play-off were revealed, Nigeria had fresh motivation: to exact revenge for their loss to Germany in the group stage. And the African side emerged victorious after yet another penalty shootout.
“I’m very happy. I gave my all for the team and I gave my all to keep the ball out. My team is so important to me. We practised penalties together and I focused very hard so I could save them.” Nigeria goalkeeper Faith Omilana
“Losing to Germany in the group stage gave us an advantage, because it meant I was sure we would win the match today, beat them and collect the bronze medal. I’m just so happy that I can’t put it into words!” flamingos forward Opeyemi Ajakaye