Nnadozie was colossal for Nigeria yesterday. That penalty save was as emphatic as it was monumental.
Kudos to Waldrum. His 4-2-3-1 formation helped to shield the team’s defence with No-nonsense Abiodun and Ucheibe delivering the goods across several defensive levels.
Alozie and Plumptre overlapped when required however Alozie found a bit more success with her pullouts and interaction with Ordega. The long ball from deep that Plumptre delivered to Oshoala caught the eye as it almost led to a goal after the Canadian goalkeeper was caught off the beaten track.
The combo of Demehin-Ohale will need time to gel but they combined well to spare each others blushes.
I got a sense that Okoronkwo’s more measured demeanour, close control and eye for innocuous short range passes could have made her better suited for the attacking midfield role that Payne occupied.
I think Payne was wasted in that role as her penchant for moving at pace and delivering crosses are better suited elsewhere.
Oshoala will have to seek other ways to obtain service from the flanks as Onumonu would tend to come back in to shoot or deliver passes. Yesterday, Onumonu delivered 0 (zero) crosses whilst Ordega delivered 2. Even Alozie delivered like 2 crosses. Onumonu wants to score and she has the technical abilities to stun goalkeepers at this stage. That will come at a price of limiting the services available to Oshoala if Waldrum continues with this arrangement.
Also, Onumonu tends to tire but Waldrum always seems reluctant to replace her.
Offensively, Ordega is no longer the force of nature she used to be. But her ability to read the game and the package she brings to the table as a team player are otherworldly. It shows that if you look after yourself and take your craft seriously, age will be nothing but a number.
Uchenna Kanu is star and she will play a powerful role off the bench for the team in this tournament. Within minutes of coming in, she was drawing a dangerous foul while lubricating the left wing with nifty passes and fluid movements.
Players like Gift Monday, Halimat Ayinde and Rasheedat Ajibade are still waiting to be unleashed whilst it will be interesting to see whether Oparanozie can dial back the years like Ordega to show that she had evolved.
At times, when defending, the Super Falcons’ shape resembles a 4-1-4-1 Formation. This was problematic at times as Canada – particularly in the second half – almost exploited the gap between the back 4 and the solo defensive midfielder.
For all their brilliance, wayward passes at the back and a momentary lack of positional disciple almost cost the Super Falcons. Teams like England, Spain or the United States of America will make them pay for such ineptitudes.
Good luck to the team and thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable game.