Women's World Cup: This is Germany's last-16 opponent Nigeria
This Saturday begins for the German national team, the knockout round of the World Cup: At 17:30 clock (live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE, TV: ZDF) she meets in the second round on Nigeria. How strong is the opponent of the German footballers? And which player must the DFB team and the spectators pay particular attention to? Here are the answers to the most important questions.
How strong is Nigeria?
Nigeria is a football-loving country, the women are record African champions. The senior team was the only African team to qualify for all eight World Cups, but only three wins and three draws are achieved. The best World Cup placement was the quarter-finals in 1999.
Against hosts France, the team kept in the preliminary round of the current World Cup long and lost only by a late penalty goal. "All World Cup participants are world-class," said Nigerian Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby, "but at different levels, but our team is much better than its ranking." In the Fifa World Ranking Nigeria is only 38th.
Which strengths must Germany pay attention to?
The trademark of the "Super Falcons" is an aggressive, powerful game. The team live on the harshness, also says coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg before the match on Saturday. The Nigerians played this strength especially on the defensive at this World Cup.
Voss-Tecklenburg, however, also sees a threat in the opposing attack series: "If Nigeria has a special strength, it is the switching game and if they win the ball, they will be able to adapt to their three fast strikers."
How has the tournament been for Nigeria so far?
In a word: dramatic! A 3-0 defeat by Norway followed a 2-0 victory, including a curious own goal from opponent South Korea. In the last group match, there was the close defeat against France - and only because the Nigerian goalkeeper was the victim of the treacherous new rule interpretation in the penalty spot.
DPA / Vincent Michel
Nigeria players complain about a penalty decision by referee Melissa Borjas during the match against France.
The first penalty had actually hit the post, but as Chiamaka Nnadozie moved too early off the line, it had to be repeated - and the second attempt was made. So Nigeria had to tremble after the last group match for the entry into the knockout round, because only the best group third qualified themselves - and this position threatened to be lost on the last matchday.
Chile was on the verge of chasing the Nigerians off eighth place. The South Americans would have needed a victory with three goals difference in their group - and actually scored two goals against Thailand. A third goal prevented the bar three times, once in a penalty. And so it remained at the finals for the Nigerian women. As it looked at the hotel when the K-round was fixed? So:
Is the late decision a disadvantage for Nigeria?
You can see it this way: The emotional moment, the joy, the adrenalin - the Nigerian women came to bed late on Thursday evening. And on Friday morning they had to travel by plane from Rennes to Grenoble.
A reasonable training session was not possible because of heavy rain in the southern French city. But Coach Dennerby remained calm: "We are not tired, the situation is easy to bear when you are happy." However, it is new, "that we do not have so much time to tactically prepare for the game".
What is the German balance sheet against Nigeria?
Outstanding. Out of seven clashes, the DFB pick each. The last time both teams played at the home World Cup 2011 against each other. At that time Germany won 1: 0. The game was much closer than the 8-0 victory in November 2010, until today one of the highest defeats of the Nigerian women.
By the way: Nigeria has an outstanding youth work, at the U20 World Cup Germany and Nigeria met twice in the final. In 2010 Germany won 2: 0. Four years later, the German U20 won the final 1-0 in extra time. But Voss Tecklenburg warns: "They'll beat it all in. Their success has significance for the whole continent." And: "We know what's in store for us."
Who is the top star among Nigerian women?
That is without question Asisat Oshoala. The 24-year-old has been voted the best player in Africa three times and has been playing for FC Barcelona in the first Spanish league for a year. Her great strength is the speed with which she regularly poses insurmountable problems to the opposing defenses.
Oshoala was the first African to reach a Champions League final this year, scoring a goal there but losing 1-1 to Olympique Lyon with Barcelona. Her mother was actually against a football career, but Oshoala pursued her dream - and fulfilled him. Meanwhile, she has founded an organization that wants to support young girls on their way to football.