Australian Matildas facing a first round exit

The Australian Matildas have slumped to a shock 3-2 loss to Nigeria and will likely have to beat Canada to avoid a group stage exit at their home Women’s World Cup.

Nigeria became the first African nation to win a match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup coming from behind to defeat co-hosts Australia in Brisbane.

Australia looked to have made a decisive breakthrough in stoppage time of the first half when Emily van Egmond side-footed the ball past Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.

The Matildas were unable to hold onto their lead until half-time as Uchenna Kanu steered the ball home after a cross into the Australian penalty area.

FC Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala was unleashed in the 65th minute to stunning effect. With her first touch she rose at the back post to head across goal to defender Osinachi Ohale to scramble the ball over the line. Five minutes later Oshoala raced onto a hopeful lofted pass, seized upon a moment of indecision from Alanna Kennedy to round goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold and score the match-winning goal.

A header by Kennedy in the ninth minute of stoppage time to reduce the deficit to 2-3 proved to be a mere consolation on the night for The Matildas who fell to third in Group B behind Canada who also came from behind to defeat the Republic of Ireland yesterday.

The result means Australia, the host nation, who won their opening match of the tournament against the Republic of Ireland, must defeat Olympic champions Canada in their final group stage match in Melbourne to ensure qualification for the knockout stages.