The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) will take the Super Falcons of Nigeria in a two-legged international friendly game in America.

The four-time World champions qualified for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup as they want to use the friendly encounter against nine-time African queens to intensify their preparation for the 2023 tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Nigeria have not been able to earn a single victory against the USA after losing all six fixtures in the past but the dethroned African Champions are eager to taste the first win when they slot it out at the Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City on Saturday.

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The second friendly is billed for Audi Field Washington, D.C. three days later.

FCnaija will bring to you some intriguing facts about five things you must know about the Super Falcons of Nigeria versus the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT).

1, Nigeria has qualified for the Women’s World Cup for a ninth time in a row, joining the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Sweden as the only countries to do so since the tournament’s start in 1991. If Germany and Norway make it through UEFA, they can potentially join this group.

The Super Falcons achieved Nigeria’s finest World Cup performance in 1999 when they advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Brazil, 4-3, on a golden goal in sudden win over time. At the 2019 World Cup in France, Nigeria also advanced out of their group, placing third in Group A before losing to Germany in the Round of 16.

Nigeria has also achieved notable success at the young international levels, placing second at the Under-20 FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2010 and 2014. In the championship game of 2014, extra time saw Nigeria lose to Germany, 1-0. Asisat Oshoala, a forward from Nigeria who presently plays for Barcelona in professional soccer, won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards for being the best player and top scorer at that competition. Germany defeated Nigeria 2-0 in the 2010 title match between the two teams. The 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup just finished, and while Nigeria won Group C, they lost to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

2, Nigeria qualified for the 2023 World Cup on July 14 by winning the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which took place in Morocco from July 2-23.

The Super Falcons, who have won the continental championship 11 times, suffered an unexpected loss to eventual champions South Africa in the first game of the group round. Nigeria finished second in Group C and advanced to the knockout stages in response, defeating Botswana and Burundi respectively by scores of 2-0 and 4-0. Rasheedat Ajibade of Atletico Madrid scored Nigeria’s only goal against Cameroon in the second half of the quarterfinal to give Nigeria one of Africa’s four automatic berths to the 2023 World Cup.

In front of 45,562 spectators in Rabat, Nigeria’s semifinal match against host Morocco ended in a 5-4 loss on penalties following a 1-1 deadlock in regulation and overtime. After being shown two red cards, Nigeria concluded that game with nine players. The Super Falcons then lost to Zambia 1-0 in the Third-Place Match to finish fourth overall at the 2022 WAFCON. Nigeria’s own goal was the only goal allowed during the contest.

Rasheedat Ajibade is Super Falcons top scorer in the tournament with three goals with absent of Asisat Oshoala and Desire Oparanozie followed by Uchenna Kanu with two.

The Atletico Madrid forward and defender Osinachi Ohale were named to the tournament Best XI.

3, Although this will only be the seventh meeting overall between the two countries and only the second such encounter in a friendly match, the USA and Nigeria are scheduled to meet for the second time in two years. The first five matches between the USA and Nigeria all took place at international competitions, with four games (in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2015) taking place at the Women’s World Cup and one at the Olympics (2000).

Nigeria first ever meeting with USA comes in group stage at the 1999 Women’s World Cup with America demolising the West African side 7-1 before 5-0 bashing of Super Falcons in the 2003 World Cup group stage.

The USA and Nigeria contest becomes tightly encounter with host nation truimped 3-1 at the 2000 Olympics and before register a  1-0 group stage wins over the Super Falcons at both the 2007 and 2015 World Cups.

The most recent encounter between the two sides came on June 16, 2021 when Christen Press scored and Lynn Williams on target in the 2-0 win for the Americans.

The USWNT has a 100 percent perfect record against Nigeria with six victories in six meetings.

4, Nigeria have a coaching connections with the four-time World champions as NFF appoint long-time American college coach Randy Waldrum in May of 2020 with the 65-year-old  is also currently the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh.

Waldrum has previously manage Houston Dash in the NWSL from 2014-2017 and for the Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Team from 2014-2016.

The Texes-born coach also led the University of Notre Dame to two NCAA titles during his 15-year spell in Indiana and Waldrum also coach U.S. Under-23 WNT.

5, There will be familiar faces from Nigeria point of view apart from coaching staff, several of the Super Falcons players invited for the encounter ply their trade in America.

Midfielder Toni Payne, who grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Duke and presented the USA at the Youth National Team levels. In fact, she was a part of the U.S. team that won the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship, scoring two goals with two assists in that tournament and then played in all three games at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, scoring against Gambia. Payne’s younger sister Nicole, who attends West Virginia, is also on the squad and also represented the USA at various age levels.

Ifeoma Onumonu hails from Southern California and played collegiately at the University of California, Berkeley. Onumonu previously played for U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski when they were both part of the Seattle Reign organization and currently plays alongside the USA’s Midge Purce and Kristie Mewis and NJ/NY Gotham FC.

Michelle Alozie is from Apple Valley, Calif. and played college soccer at Tennessee. She currently plays for the Houston Dash and has played in six NWSL games so far this season and scored her second goal on Aug. 27 against the Washington Spirit to equalizer in stoppage time.

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