Sports

Plumptre rues painful World Cup exit, says Falcons should have taken their chances


Ashleigh Plumptre, a Super Falcons defender and one of the top performers in Monday’s Round 16 clash between England and Nigeria, has hailed the performance of the nine-time African champions.

The Super Falcons of Nigeria were the better team despite a 2-4 penalty shoot-out defeat by England in the Round of 16 of the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals on Monday.

For a gruelling 120 minutes, Coach Randy Waldrum’s ladies stood toe-to-toe with the Three Lionesses, ranked 36 places above them, and should have won the game in regulation time before being dragged into a penalty shootout.

The Super Falcons should have scored within the opening 15 minutes as England-based defender Plumptre hit the crossbar with a 22-yard attempt and followed it up with another that needed to be saved by the England goalkeeper.

Unfortunately, the inability to convert the handful of chances that came their way ultimately saw the Falcons fall short in the ensuing penalty kicks. Desire Oparanozie and Michelle Alozie missed Nigeria’s opening two kicks, and there was no way back.


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“I think everybody counted us out against England,” Plumptre told The Athletic.

“And I’m telling you, after this game, I’m tired of people just saying that African teams are just strong, and they’re just fast, and count us out as being technical or tactical.

“We just pushed England to the very end. And I actually think that we had better chances than them.

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READ ALSO: Meet Ashleigh Plumptre, Falcons’ new defensive member


“We made a statement here. We won’t be forgotten for what we’ve done, and this will just be the foundation moving forward.

With the narrative now changed, Plumptre believes the world will take Nigeria and African teams more seriously in their future outings.

“Now we have expectations to get out of this group all the time. To push these teams all the time. We just need to keep believing in ourselves and get the backing we deserve, and I think we can go a long way,” Plumptre concluded.

With the Olympic qualifiers just ahead, the Super Falcons must pick themselves up quickly to build on their World Cup performance.

First, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will first have to sort out their issues with Coach Randy Waldrum, who openly criticised the federation for paying lip service to the women’s game in Nigeria in the build-up to the World Cup.


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