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Women’s World Cup: Super Falcons Break Knockout Stage Jinx

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Nigeria have finally ended their 20-year wait for a spot in the playoffs after advancing to the Round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup in France on Thursday.

The Super Falcons had failed to go beyond the group stage of the competition since 1999, when they reached the quarter-final in the USA.

With Brazil, China and Cameroon already qualified as the three best third-placed teams, the Nigerians were hoping Chile failed to beat Thailand by a three-goal advantage in Rennes.

Despite Chile’s 2-0 win over Thailand in final Group E game in Montpellier, Thomas Dennerby’s side claimed the last spot among the four best third-placed teams, on superior goals scored.

The African champions had lost 3-0 to Norway in Reims, but defeated South Korea 2-0 in Grenoble, before bowing to Les Bleues in their final Group A match in Rennes.

Having secured their passage to the knockout stage, the Africans will face Group B winners and former champions Germany in Grenoble on June 22.

With Cameroon already advancing, it means that Nigeria will be the second African side in the competition after the elimination of South Africa from the group stage.

It is also the first time since the inception of the showpiece in 1991 that two African sides reached the knockout stages.

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