Falcons land in Paris for World Cup


The Super Falcons have arrived Paris, the capital of France, for the 2018 Women’s World Cup after intensive preparation in Austria.

The current African champions departed the Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf in Austria, where they were on a two-week camp on Monday and spent the night in Vienna, before flying to Paris on Tuesday for the World Cup. The Falcons face Norway, ranked 12th in the world in their first game of the competition on Saturday at the Stade Auguste Delauney in Reims before facing South Korea on June 12 at the Stade des Alphes in Grenoble.

They then slug it out with hosts France in their final group game at the Roazhon Park in Rennes on June 17.

The team head into the competition with high hopes after wins in two friendly matches against top clubs in eastern Europe.

On Tuesday, the Falcons defeated Hungarian top division side, Halandas Viktoria, 5-1 in Hungary and on Sunday, put three goals past ZNK Pormuje in Slovenia.

They would be banking on the form of Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala, who scored a brace in the friendlies, to deliver the goods against the Norwegians, when both teams clash on Saturday.

Uchenna Kalu, who scored the other goal against Pormuje on Sunday, is in a rich vein of form, after scoring nine goals to emerge top scorer of the WAFU Women Cup of Nations in Abidjan, just before the trip to Austria.

Powerful forward Desire Oparanozie, the new captain of the squad, and the energetic winger Francisca Ordega are also brimming in confidence ahead of the World Cup.

Petite forward Rasheedat Ajibade will be attending her first major finals as a foreign-based professional, and Chinwendu Ihezuo, who scored against Viktoria in Hungary, is also in a great mood after settling down in China.

Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, defenders Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohale and Ngozi Ebere, and midfielders Ngozi Okobi and Halimatu Ayinde, who played key roles in Nigeria’s triumph at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana last year, are all confident the Falcons can pull surprises in France.

Nigeria will be hoping to make it out of the group, and hopefully make it to the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time since 1999.