PREVIEW: Nigeria v Canada – FIFA Women’s World Cup Team News, Predicted Lineups and Where to Watch

Nigeria will begin their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign on the 21 July as they face Canada at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, and the Super Falcons will be keen to progress from their group for just the third time.

Despite this being Nigeria’s ninth appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the African nation has failed to set the world alight when performing on the global stage. A solitary appearance in the 1999 quarterfinals is their best result thus far, when the competition only featured sixteen teams.

Randy Waldrum’s tenure as Nigerian head coach has been tumultuous, though his side appear to have turned a corner heading into this summer’s tournament. Three wins on the bounce ensure that Nigeria will begin their campaign in the right frame of mind, buoyed by recent wins against varied opposition.

As for Canada, Bev Priestman’s side will also fancy themselves to escape from this tough group. Football is on the rise in the North American nation – and while the men’s side have only reached the World Cup twice, the women have become regulars on football’s greatest stage, with this being their eighth appearance.

Canada didn’t appear in the inaugural 1991 edition of the competition, and were knocked out in the group stages in both 1995 and 1999 – before shocking the world as they progressed to the semifinals four years later. Two more group stage eliminations followed though, and it looked as if Canada’s glory days had been and gone until a quarterfinal appearance on home soil in 2015 cast the sport back into the limelight.

Canada only made it as far as the round-of-sixteen last time out though, and they’ll look to progress deeper into this summer’s tournament. They’ve certainly got the squad to do so, but challenging for the trophy might be a little too optimistic.

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Team news

Both squads are, for the most part, fighting fit. Bev Priestman may opt to err on the side of caution when it comes to Jessie Fleming though, with the Chelsea midfielder nursing a slight knock. While she may well be fit enough to start against Nigeria, aggravating an injury could see her spend more time on the sidelines in the long run – so a late substitute appearance may be favoured.

Predicted lineups

Nigeria: Nnadozie; Imran, Ebi, Demehin, Alozie; Ayinde; Ajibade, Echegini, Payne, Okoronkwo; Oshoala

Canada: Sheridan; Chapman, Gilles, Buchanan, Lawrence; Grosso, Schmidt, Fleming; Leon, Sinclair, Huitema

Where can I watch?

Kickoff at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is scheduled for 3:30am UK time on Friday, 21 July 2023. The coverage will begin at 03:20 on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.

FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.

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