Nigeria advanced beyond the Group Stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time in 20 years on Thursday night.
The Super Falcons, who lost their final Group A game by a lone goal to the host nation France, endured a nervous three-day wait to see if their three-point haul would suffice to progress as one of the four best third-placed teams.
After Argentina’s come-from-behind draw with Scotland on Wednesday eliminated both teams, it came to the final day of the Group Stage. Cameroon snatched a place in the Round of 16 right at the death in their final game against New Zealand, leaving just the one spot up for grabs.
Nigeria needed Thailand to avoid defeat by any more than two goals in their meeting with fellow World Cup debutants Chile.
The South Americans took the lead just after the break thanks to an own-goal, and forward Maria Jose Urrutia made it two 10 minutes from time. Drama then ensued, as Francisca Lara failed to convert from the penalty spot four minutes from time, firing her effort against the woodwork.
The 2-0 victory for Chile saw them fall just short of the Super Falcons’ goal differential. The African champions therefore go through to the next round, where they will face Germany.