Australia (0-1) vs. Nigeria (0-0-1)
|Date & Time||Friday June 12, 2015, 6:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Nigeria +156 / Australia +165 -- Over/Under: 3
FOX Sports 1
Nigeria and Australia meet Friday afternoon in their second matchup of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Nigeria made a second half comeback to settle for a 3-3 draw against Sweden in its opening match. Nigeria controlled the ball for 51 percent of the match and actually outshot the Swedish, 14-7. Nigeria had issues in 2011 with getting quality looks, but the speed and playmaking ability really showed. Nigeria also proved it could hang with physical teams, as it didn’t blink an eye despite Sweden committing 14 fouls. Despite the slow start, Nigeria played a clean and impressive match against a heavily favored Sweden squad. With Ngozi Okobi and Desire Oparanozie making plays, Nigeria has a chance to be one of the surprise teams this tournament. However, Nigeria must get off to faster starts if it hopes to advance, as a two-goal comeback isn’t going to happen often.
Australia lost 3-1 to the United States in its opening match. Australia had its chances with 11 shots and six shots on goal, but Lisa De Vanna was the only player to find the net in a losing effort. Australia actually played a lot more competitive than expected considering the betting line, and it survived a physical game in which a combined 30 penalties and two yellow cards were called. Australia is certainly not a pushover, as this team has made the quarterfinals two years in a row and is very balanced. Australia had its chances against the World Cup favorites and has to feel good heading into this match. However, the main question I have for Australia is still at goalie, as Lydia Williams was a last second scratch due to a thigh injury, which gave the start to a lesser talented Melissa Barbieri.
I like both of these teams as a potential sleeper in this tournament, as they both have young talent and speed on the edges that can make a difference. I’ll make my mind up once a line comes out.
While I was surprised with how Nigeria played in its opening match, Australia is the more balanced and experienced team. I like the Aussies to win this game outright.