Team profile: Nigeria
Coach: Eucharia Uche, a 38-year-old former international, is the first Nigerian woman to coach the Super Falcons. Uche took over in early 2009 leading her country to the African title the following year. She played at the first two Women's World Cups in 1991 and 1995. However, her tenure has been dogged by controversy. It is claimed she wasn't paid for two years and was threatened with the sack by the Nigerian Federation.
Goalkeepers: Precious Dede, Tochukwu Oluehi, Alaba Jonathan
Defenders: Helen Ukaonu, Faith Ikidi, Onome Ebi, Osinachi Ohalem, Ulunma Jerome, Josephine Chukwunonye
Midfielders: Rebecca Kalu, Glory Iroka, Rita Chikwelu, Ebere Orji, Ogonna Chukwudi, Perpetua Nkwocha
Forwards: Stella Mbachu, Francisca Ordega, Desire Oparanozie, Sarah Michael, Uchechi Sunday, Amenze Aighewi
1ST ROUND MATCHES (GROUP A)
- June 26 — vs. France in Sinsheim
- June 30 — vs. Germany in Frankfurt
- July 5 — vs. Canada in Dresden
Strengths: Stella Mbachu and Perpetua Nkwocha form a lethal and experienced strike partnership that will put pressure on opposing defenders… The roster is packed with internationally experienced players who have competed at previous World Cups… The Nigerian team also boasts great speed and athleticism. Opposing teams will have to catch them if they first want to win back possession.
Weaknesses: Nigeria, ranked No. 27 by FIFA, must be considered outsiders after being drawn in a group with three of the world's top-10: Germany (No. 1), Canada (No. 6) and France (No. 7)... A track record of under-achievement: Nigeria has competed in five World Cups, but has only advanced beyond the group stage in 1999… Coach Eucharia Uche has been involved in a lengthy pay dispute with the Nigeria federation, leading to suggestions that this may serve as a distraction in Germany.
Player to watch: Perpetua Nkwocha — One of the greatest African players in the history of the women's game, Nkwocha is an experienced striker with a proven track record of scoring goals. The Nigerian possesses deadly accuracy in front of goal, can score with both feet, possesses good speed and is strong in the air.
Prospects in Germany: Nigeria must be considered outsiders after being drawn in a group with three of the world's Top 10. Despite their dominance of the African game, Nigeria has failed to translate that winning habit to the Women's World Cup. The veteran strike partnership of Nkwocha and Mbachu could catch France unaware in the opening game - perhaps Nigeria's best chance of a first World Cup win since 1999. Another first round exit is more likely.
- Soccer Confederation: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
- Current FIFA world ranking: 27
- Team nickname: Super Falcons
- Team colours: green jerseys/green shorts
ROAD TO THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
2011 qualification route: Nigeria won the 2010 African Women's Championship in South Africa, beating Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in the Final. The Super Falcons, long regarded as the best team on the continent, took the title for the eighth time in nine attempts to ensure qualification for the sixth time. Perpetua Nkwocha scored 14 goals in qualifying.
- Qualification record: 7 wins, 0 losses, 0 ties
- Goals for: 24
- Goals against: 6
- Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Perpetua Nkwocha (14)
- May 21, 2010 — Nigeria 2, Ivory Coast 1
- June 5, 2010 — Nigeria 3, Ivory Coast 1
- Nov. 1, 2010 — Nigeria 5, Mali 1
- Nov. 4, 2010 — Nigeria 2, South Africa 1
- Nov. 7, 2010 — Nigeria 3, Tanzania 0
- Nov. 11, 2010 — Nigeria 5, Cameroon 1
- Nov. 14, 2010 — Nigeria 4, Equatorial Guinea 2
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP HISTORY
Nigeria has long been Africa's top women's soccer team, with Ghana trailing close behind. This will be the sixth World Cup for the Super Falcons, whose best result was a quarter-final appearance at the 1999 tournament in the United States. There, Nigeria finished second in its group, ahead of Denmark and North Korea before losing to Brazil in the knockout stage.
The 2003 World Cup was a disappointment for the green-and-white clad West Africans as they failed to score a goal in three straight losses. Four years later in China, Nigeria again failed to advance beyond the group stage.
- Hosted the Women's World Cup: Never
- Number of previous Women's World Cup appearances: 5
- All-time record: 2 wins, 12 losses, 2 ties
- Goals for: 14
- Goals against: 48
- All-time top scorer: Rita Nwadike (3)
- 1991 — First round
- 1995 — First round
- 1999 — Quarter-finals
- 2003 — First round
- 2007 — First round