For the second time since they reached the final in Canada 2014, Nigeria’s Falconets failed to advance beyond the first knockout phase – the quarterfinals of the FIFA U20 Women’s Cup.
Against popular predictions, the team crashed to The Netherlands 0-2 on Sunday (earlier hours of Monday back home).
Nigeria had exited at the same stage in the last edition in 2018 in France and could not go beyond the group phase in in Papua New Guinea 2016.
In all, this is the fifth last eight crash for the Falconets, adding 2004, 2006 and 2008.
The Falconets, who had a perfect record at the group stage in this edition beating France, Canada and Korea Republic, could not reenact those performances in this their quarter-final match in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Flourish Sabastine, who scored Nigeria’s winning goal against France in their Group C opening match, disappointed in the seventh minute.
Four minutes later, the Dutch were ahead when Zera Hulswit rammed a perfect dipping shot beyond Omini Oyono after pulling away on the counter-attack.
In the 15th minute, Sabastine again pulled away and let fly, but the ball was tipped away by impressive goalkeeper Claire Dinkla.
On the half-hour, Nigeria nearly got the leveller that their endeavour deserved when Deborah Abiodun seized the ball as the Dutch defence fell into confusion.
But her dipping shot from 25 metres rocked the crossbar and was then tipped away from the head of Chiamaka Okwuchukwu.
With team captain Oluwatosin Demehin and Omowumi Oshobukola in a fumble, Ziva Henry bundled the ball past Oyono.
Substitute Joy Jerry came close to pulling one back when her head met the ball from Rofiat Imuran’s cross in the 62nd minute, but the ball floated away.
In the second minute of added time, a Dutch defender handled the ball in the box as Nigeria poured forward.
But after consulting the Video Assistant Referee, Costa Rican official Marianela Araya overturned her own decision to award a penalty kick.
In the group phase , Nigeria scored five goals and conceded only one.
The Netherlands will now meet Spain on Thursday in the first semi-final fixture, after the European side beat Mexico 1-0 in the first quarter-final match on Saturday.
Brazil who also won 1-0 against Colombia on Saturday in the second quarter-final match will face defending champions Japan.