I fell in love with the Super Falcons during the 2008 Olympics, watching them slug out the ultimate group-of-death: Germany, Brazil, Nigeria and North Korea. None of the games in that tournament were as exciting as those Nigeria played in this group.
Nevertheless, Nigeria didn’t make it past that stage. Similarly, last night’s performance against Germany will likely go down as one of the best in the tournament. It had everything: skill, stamina, speed and controversy.
Basically, the Super Falcons have so much pace, and play so aggressively that it was as if Germany’s formation had been put though a blender. Nigeria is that fearsome team which does not allow others to play their game. The first twenty minutes in Nigeria’s game are particularly chaotic. This does not mean they are without tactic: quite the opposite. It’s the mobile, fluid tactic of a game constantly adjusting itself to the other team’s strategies.
It was hard to reconcile last night’s performance with the match against France: It seems likely they underestimated les Bleus, or is it that France read Nigeria better than did Germany?
It might also be possible that unlike last night’s game, the match with France was actually refereed. Poor refereeing absolutely favors Nigeria – thus some the match’s controversy.
In spite of their tremendous effort, Nigeria had scarcely any shots at goal. I asked former FC Indiana coach Shek Borkowsky (via Twitter) why Germany won, even though it was clearly a brutal game for them. (His comments are edited, to translate tweets into sentences.)
The way Nigeria performed yesterday no other team in this competition would beat them. Nigeria’s aggression and commitment level was three times of that they showed against France. Still, Germany limited Nigeria to one shot on goal.