Nigeria is set to play Australia, Ireland and Canada in Group B of the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals happening in the summer of 2023.
Holders and four-time champions the United States will face the Netherlands while Megan Rapinoe’s United States will also meet debutants Vietnam and a play-off winner at the finals in Australia and New Zealand..
Nigeria will therefore play Canada in her first match of the competition to be staged in a total of nine cities (five in Australia and four in New Zealand), and which will boast 32 teams – the biggest in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since it began in China in 1991.
Joint-hosts New Zealand will battle Norway, Philippines and Switzerland in Group A.
Nigeria, alongside the United States of America, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Japan are the only seven countries to have featured in all previous editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, between China 1991 and France 2019.
Canada is the reigning Olympic champions and recently beat hosts Australia in back-to-back games last month despite fielding an understrength squad. They are the highest-ranked opponent (seventh) the Falcons could have drawn from their pot.
The Republic of Ireland were the third-highest ranked team in their pot (24th).
The Matildas of Australia were the second-highest ranked team in their pot and will have the full backing of the Australians behind them who will come to support their team in good number at the venues they host.
However, the Falcons are no pushover as they were the highest-ranked team in their pot (45th), and are still the most successful team in African history, having won the last three Africa Women’s Cup of Nations titles before losing it to Banyana Banyana of South Africa this year.
Looking past the group stage, the Falcons are also in for a tough test should they make it through.
If the Nigerians finish first in Group B, they will join Group D to compete against heavy favourites England who won the Euros 2022 in July and a rampant Denmark side.
Australia will host the showpiece tournament alongside New Zealand, where the official draw took place in Auckland with hundreds of famous faces including Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.