Draw for Sweden as World Cup kicks off

African champions Nigeria fought back from two goals down to hold Sweden 3-3 in their first Women's World Cup Group D clash in Canada on Monday night.

Draw for Sweden as World Cup kicks off
Sweden's Nilla Fischer (5) celebrates with her team after scoring against Nigeria in the first half. Photo: TT

Nigeria's Super Falcons showed determination from the outset to claim a first win in four meetings with the 2003 runners-up. 

But despite dominating early the Africans fell behind after 21 minutes when Desire Oparanozie bungled in an own goal following an Emma Berglund header from a corner.

Ten minutes later they were two goals down to the fifth-ranked Swedes after a poor clearance allowed Nilla Fischer to score.

But they came out fighting in the second half with Ngozi Okobi reducing the deficit after 50 minutes past Hedvig Lindahl in the Sweden goal.

Three minutes later Asisat Oshoala, the golden shoe winner at the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014, levelled.

And in a desperate scramble substitute Linda Sembrant put Sweden back on front only for Francisca Ordega to salvage a point for the 33rd-ranked Super Falcons three minutes from time with a goal that rolled through Lindahl's legs.

“They expected to win, and at the end of the day we got a draw,” said Nigeria coach Edwin Okon.

“Prayer is a key for the Nigerian team. We praise God. That is the key. I thought in the first half we were the stronger team.”

READ ALSO: Five reasons you've got to support Sweden's women footballers

Nigeria next play Australia in Winnipeg on Thursday with Sweden, now coached by former US coach Pia Sundhage, taking on the Americans.

“We're not happy that we gave up three goals, however, at the end of the day we got one point and there's good things to bring to the next game,” said Sundhage.

“The game plan was different than what you saw. Again, we got one point and next time, when we play the States, I hope we will follow the game plan.”

Sundhage has previously told The Local she believes her side has a chance of winning the tournament.

“The central line and the goalkeeper are important, if we can get ourselves together there we can go far. Caroline Seger, Lotta Schelin and Nilla Fischer are three world players who can inspire others to play well too,” she said.

Sweden's men reached a nil-nil draw with Norway in their international friendly in Oslo on Monday night.


Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland want to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup
Sweden players during this year's World Cup in France. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The five Nordic nations want to share hosting duties for the 2027 edition of the World Cup finals and are to present the idea to the Nordic Council at a meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, Danish football association DBU has confirmed.

FIFA is already positively disposed to joint bids for future finals tournaments, which has lent encouragement to the Nordic project, according to DBU's chairman Jesper Møller.

“We can see that support for women's football is here to stay, most recently at the (2019) World Cup in France, where matches were played in front of full stadiums and television viewers' interest was huge,” Møller said.

“A joint Nordic World Cup would not only ensure a fantastic experience for many football fans but will also strengthen important Nordic partnerships and community, and hopefully inspire many football-keen women and girls,” he continued.

“That's why support from the Nordic Council is important,” he added.

The Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd) is the official body for inter-parliamentary co-operation among the five Nordic countries and three territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.

DBU is also looking into the possibility of hosting the 2025 European Championships in Denmark.