The Super Falcons of Nigeria saw out a goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland to pick up the point they needed to reach the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup.
Ireland, despite already being eliminated after losing their opening two games, dominated possession and almost led inside the opening five minutes, but Katie McCabe drove a low shot just wide.
The Super Falcons were sharper after the break and Uchenna Kanu looked to have broken the deadlock with a downward header, only for Courtney Brosnan to spectacularly tip onto the crossbar.
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Denise O’Sullivan saw a close-range shot blocked when the Irish fashioned their best chance of the second half.
With Australia dispatching Canada 4-0 in Group B’s other match, Nigeria finish second and will play the Group D winners, who could be England in the round of 16.
Ireland finishes bottom of the group, but this is their first-ever point at a Women’s World Cup.
After shocking Australia last time out, you might have expected Nigeria to really kick on against already-eliminated opposition and send out a marker, in the process likely ensuring they avoided the European champions in the next round.
Instead, it was a flat and often defensive performance, which feels a little like a step back.
Credit must go to Ireland, who played well, and it is job done for Nigeria after all, but they may come to rue not being more attacking if things don’t go their way in the next round.
Australia topped Group B with six points after thrashing Canada 4-0 to guarantee a place in the last 16.
Republic of Ireland: Brosnan 8, Fahey 7, Louise Quinn 6, Connolly 6, Payne 6, Littlejohn 6, Agg 6, McCabe 7, O’Sullivan 8, Farrelly 7, Carusa 6. Subs: Larkin 5, Sheva 6, Caldwell n/a.
Nigeria: Nnadozie 5, Alozie 7, Ohale 6, Demehin 7, Plumptre 6, Ucheibe 6, Aynide 6, Payne 8, Ajibade 6, Kanu 6, Oshoala 6. Subs: Onumonu 5, Monday 5, Ebi 6.