Super Falcons of Nigeria came 7th as the 12th edition of the annual 12-nation invitational Cyprus Women’s Cup came to an end on March 6th, while North Korea were crowned champions following a dramatic 7-6 penalty shoot-out win over Italy after they both tied 3-3 in extra time in the decisive final match at GSZ Stadium in Larnaca.
Concise News reports that Nigeria Swede trainer, Thomas Dennerby, have described the experience in Cyprus as useful lessons ahead of the forthcoming 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
“I am happy that we were able to come here and participate in this tournament,” declares Dennerby who led the Damlandslaget (Sweden women’s national team) to a third-place finish at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Germany. “The lessons are good for the team, just like we also learnt a lot at the tournament in China.”
Last January, Nigeria finished third at the 2019 Four-Nation Women’s Football Tournament in Meizhou (China) following a 4-1 thrashing of Romania in the third place play-off match but the West Africans actually lost with an identical 4-1 margin to Austria in their opening match at the Cyprus Cup.
The African champions rallied to a 3-2 win over Slovakia in their second game only to lose their last Group C encounter to Belgium (1-0) to finish in the third position behind Austria and Belgium from their section.
In the ensuing 7th-place classification match at the Tassos Markos Stadium in Paralimni, Nigeria defeated Thailand 3-0 with two first-half goals from striker Asisat Oshoala and defender Onome Ebi while Anam Imo, who scored Nigeria’s winning goal in the 4-3 defeat of Slovakia, got Nigeria’s third late into the second stanza.
“We lost to Austria but we recovered well against Slovakia, and if we had put away the chances we had after scoring our third goal, there would have been no way for them to equalize,” Dennerby explains. “A good thing that we won in the end.”
2019 Cyprus Cup Classification Results
1st place: North Korea 3-3 Italy (Korea won 7-6 on pen.)
3rd place: Austria 0-0 Belgium (Belgium won 3-2 on pen.)
5th place: Czech 1-2 Mexico
7th place: Nigeria 3-0 Thailand
9th place: Finland 3-0 South Africa
11th place: Slovakia 2-3 Hungary