We look ahead to this 2023 Women’s World Cup last 16 knockout fixture with our England vs Nigeria preview and prediction.
England vs Nigeria Stats: Quick Hits
- According to the Opta supercomputer, England are heavy favourites to beat Nigeria, with a 70.9% chance of victory.
- Germany’s shock exit in the group stage has opened up England’s side of the draw. They may not have to face a side ranked inside the top 10 until the semi-finals.
- As a result, the Lionesses are 26.5% favourites to achieve overall World Cup glory.
England have finally arrived in Australia and New Zealand. Their 6-1 evisceration of China in their final group game was arguably the best performance of the competition to date by any team. It sealed top spot in Group D for Sarina Weigman’s side who now take on Nigeria – runners-up in Group B – in the last 16 on Monday.
Alessia Russo’s early strike seemed to settle any England agitation and they were able to cut loose, now unburdened after toiling for back-to-back 1-0 victories in their first two games. The six goals England eventually plundered was just the second time they’d scored six in a FIFA Women’s World Cup match, and they equalled their biggest margin of victory in the competition with this win (6-1 vs Argentina in 2007).
Lauren James was once again in scintillating form, scoring twice and providing three assists in Adelaide. Her performance saw her become just the third player on record (since 2011) to be directly involved in five goals in a single Women’s World Cup game after Anja Mittag for Germany vs. Côte d’Ivoire in 2015 (three goals, two assists) and Alex Morgan for USA vs. Thailand in 2019 (five goals, three assists).
James is currently the only England player to have registered more than one goal or one assist, and she will once again be crucial to their attacking output.
Their last 16 opponents will be Nigeria, who finished as runners-up behind hosts Australia in Group B. It’s the third time Nigeria have qualified for the knockout stage of a Women’s World Cup, after 1999 and 2019, and they are the first African team to qualify in consecutive editions.
In the end, their breathless 3-2 victory over Australia – sandwiched between two goalless draws against Canada and Ireland – was enough to see them over the line.
There is no doubt that Nigeria will be huge underdogs in this game. Leading their defensive efforts to thwart England will be Christy Ucheibe, who has screened the Nigerian defence so ably thus far. Her 18 attempted tackles in the tournament is more than any other player during the group stage and at least twice as many as any other Nigerian player.
She’s also made more high-intensity pressures than any other Nigerian player, and the location of those show how important she is in shielding Nigeria’s own penalty area.
Leading the line will be Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, who leads Nigeria for shots (7) and touches in the box (7) at this tournament, despite not starting against Australia. She came on to score what turned out to be the winning goal in that encounter.
It’ll be tempting for England to get ahead of themselves here. Germany’s shock exit has blown England’s side of the draw wide open. Should England get past Nigeria, instead of facing Germany in a potential quarter-final, it will one of Jamaica (43rd in the world rankings) or Colombia (25th).
They may not have to face a side ranked inside the top 10 until the semi-finals, should they get that far.
That’s why the Lionesses are such strong favourites to win the competition according to our tournament predictor model. It currently gives Wiegmann’s team a 26.5% chance of going all the way.
England vs Nigeria Head-to-Head
England and Nigeria have met just once before in the Women’s World Cup. That came back in the group stage in 1995 and ended with a win 3-2 for England.
However, in their other two encounters – both friendlies – Nigeria ran out winners (1-0 in 2002 and 3-0 in 2004).
England vs Nigeria Prediction
That was a long time ago, though, and the supercomputer is very bullish on England’s chances in this one, giving them a 70.9% chance of winning the game. For context, the model gave them a 65.1% chance of beating China, and we all know how that worked out. Nigeria have a 11.3% chance of causing a major upset within 90 minutes, while is a 17.8% shot that this game goes into extra time.
If you include extra time and penalties, then England have a 79.7% of progressing compared to Nigeria’s 20.3% chance.
England vs Nigeria Squads
England: Mary Earps, Lucy Bronze, Niamh Charles, Keira Walsh, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Lauren James, Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly, Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp, Jordan Nobbs, Hannah Hampton, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Esme Morgan, Jess Carter, Laura Coombs, Chloe Kelly, Bethany England, Katie Zelem, Ellie Roebuck, Katie Robinson, Alessia Russo.
Nigeria: Chiamaka Nnadozie, Yewande Balogun, Inyeme Etim, Osinachi Ohale, Ashleigh Plumptre, Glory Ogbonna, Oluwatosin Demehin, Rofiat Imuran, Michelle Alozie, Onome Ebi, Halimatu Ayinde, Christy Ucheibe, Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene, Toni Payne, Regina Otu, Deborah Abiodun, Asisat Oshoala, Uchenna Kanu, Ifeoma Onumonu, Rasheedat Ajibade, Desire Oparanozie, Esther Okoronkwo, Gift Monday