African champions Nigeria have an interesting start to their preparations for the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals as they tackle China’s Women National Team, nicknamed Steel Roses, in the Four –Nation China Tournament on Thursday evening.
Korea Republic and Romania, the other participating teams, will clash in the tournament opening match, from 3pm China time (8am Nigeria time), before the Falcons and the Roses take the pitch at Huitang Stadium at 7.35pm China time, which will be 12.35pm in Nigeria.
On Wednesday, between 4pm-5pm China time (9am and 10am in Nigeria), the Falcons took to the Wu Hua Olympic Sports Centre of the Huitang Stadium for their first training session since arriving in China.
Sweden –based defender Faith Michael and midfielder Rita Chikwelu, as well as England -based forward Ini-Abasi Umotong and Portugal –based Chinaza Uchendu flew direct from Europe and joined the team in Meizhou city.
China’s Steel Roses is among the most respected teams in women football globally and will certainly afford the nine –time African champions a good match. On its part, Nigeria’s Super Falcons is one of ONLY seven teams to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals since the competition was launched in China in 1991. The others are the women national teams of USA, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Japan.
The winner of Thursday’s encounter will clash with the winner of the Korea Republic/Romania fixture in Sunday’s final, slated to kick off at 7.35pm China time (12.35pm Nigeria time). The losers play the third place match starting from 3pm China time (8am Nigeria time) also on Sunday, and at the same Huitang Stadium.
Should the Falcons prevail over the Steel Roses and the Koreans subdue the Romanians, Sunday’s final would be an interesting preview of the FIFA World Cup Group A clash between Nigeria and Korea Republic scheduled for Grenoble on 12th June.