World Cup debut thrills Monday, eyes q’final

Super Falcons forward Gift Monday is excited after making her Women’s World Cup debut at the ongoing tournament in Australia, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Nigeria booked their spot in the Round of 16 after a goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland in their last group game on Monday, becoming the only African side to finish the round unbeaten.

Nigeria drew 0-0 with Canada in their first game and followed it up with a stunning 3-2 win over co-hosts Australia to take control of their destiny before finishing the job with Monday’s stalemate.

Randy Waldrum’s ladies finished second in the group with five points, one point behind co-hosts Australia who thumped Canada 4-0 in their last game as well to move ahead of Nigeria.

Monday, 21, missed the first two games at the tournament, but after taking a bow on women’s football’s biggest stage, she is already looking at making history with the former African champions.

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“I am so happy to make my debut. Personally, coming into the World Cup, my target was to go far in the World Cup than any other set did. It is my first World Cup, so, I need to make good use of it and make it memorable,” she said.

She also praised her teammates for their hard work and resilience in securing qualification for the last 16.

“As a team, we were preparing well, we did not just relax and feel like we were going to get everything on a platter of gold. All thanks to my teammates, everyone just came out and played their hearts out,” Monday said.

The Falcons will now face Group D winners and European champions England in the round of 16 on Monday morning in Brisbane.

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