UNITED STATES: The Netherlands eliminated Nigeria from the Under-20 Women’s World Cup on Sunday, ending African participation in the competition in Costa Rica.
In Alajuela, goals from Zera Hulswit and Ziva Henry in the first half gave the Dutch a 2-0 victory in the quarterfinal match. After a poorly constructed blocking by Nigerian captain Oluwatosin Demehin in the 11th minute, Hulswit blasted in a half-volley.
Throughout both halves, the Falconets had numerous opportunities, with Deborah Balogun’s long shot at the halfway point deflecting against the crossbar. In the 33rd minute, Henry pounced and sent the ball through the legs of goalie Monle Oyono courtesy of yet another errant clearance by Demehin.
Esther Onyenezide, one of Nigeria’s group stage stars, and Flourish Sabastine both came close to winning the match, but the Dutch held on to advance to the semifinals.
In stoppage time of the second half, the West Africans were given a penalty for a handball, but the judgment was overturned after a video assistant referee review.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) attributed the team’s elimination to poor officiating. The Nigerians had glided into the last eight with a pristine record after victories over France, South Korea, and Canada.
The NFF issued a statement in which they claimed that “a litany of reasons, including bad finishing, hard luck, and questionable officiating saw the Nigeria girls bow out.”
Every time Nigeria has competed in the Women’s Under-20 World Cup, they have fallen to Germany in the championship match.
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