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World Cup Qualifiers: Nigeria’s World Cup Aspirations Dim Following a 2-1 Loss to Benin

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In the recent leg of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers, the Nigerian Super Eagles encountered a formidable opponent in Benin Republic, enduring a 2-1 loss on Monday.

The match began positively for Nigeria as Raphael Onyedika found the back of the net in the 29th minute with a well-placed shot into the right corner, providing an early lead.

However, Benin Republic swiftly retaliated following a defensive lapse by Nigeria, with Jodel Dossou seizing the opportunity to equalize with a precise strike.

Just before halftime, Benin Republic capitalized on a corner, with Steve Mounie securing the lead with a right-footed goal, putting Nigeria at a disadvantage.

Despite tactical adjustments in the second half, including substitutions such as Victor Boniface, Paul Onuachu, and Ibrahim Olawoyin, Nigeria struggled to level the score.

Coach Finidi George entrusted Terem Moffi and Ademola Lookman with leading the attack, while Boniface initially started from the bench. Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali guarded the net, supported by Bassey, Tanimu, Ajayi, and Osayi-Samuel in defense. Ndidi, Onyeka, and Iwobi manned the midfield, while Chukwueze, Lookman, and Moffi spearheaded the offensive line.

Despite the efforts of substitutes like Iheanacho, Boniface, and Onuachu, Nigeria failed to overturn the scoreline.

This defeat sees Nigeria sliding to fifth place in the six-team table, while Benin Republic rises to the top spot after capitalizing on their victory.

With three draws and one loss in four matches, Nigeria faces a daunting challenge ahead in their quest for World Cup qualification.

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles Slip to 39th in FIFA World Ranking

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles have dropped again by one spot in the FIFA World Ranking to place world 39th in the July ranking.

In the ranking table by the world football governing body, the Nigerian team still maintains the 1,498.93 points it had in June.

The team suffered a massive drop in the June ranking from 30th to 38th after lacklustre performances in the World Cup Qualifying matches.

However, the drop on the global stage in July did not affect the team’s position on the continental stage, remaining fifth behind Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, and Cote d ‘Ivoire.

On the global scene, three continental competitions and many international friendlies have been served up in June and July, with at least 125 matches contested.

Having successfully defended their CONMEBOL Copa América crown, Argentina (first) tightens their grip at the top of the pile. France (second) are still their closest challengers after reaching the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2024.

Newly crowned European champions Spain (3rd, up 5) have yet more reason to celebrate after hauling themselves into the top three of the ranking.

England (fourth) are just behind the leading pack, having leapfrogged Brazil (fifth) and Belgium (sixth) now find themselves outside the top five.

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Super Falcons Shouldn’t Be Judged By Friendly Game Loss To Canada —Udeze

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Former Super Eagles defender Ifeanyi Udeze has said the Super Falcons should not be judged by their loss to Canada in a test game.

The Falcons continued their preparations for this summer’s Olympics in Paris with a test game with reigning women’s Olympic champions Canada.
After 90 minutes the Falcons lost 1-0 to the Canadians, who they held to a goalless draw in the group stage at the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup.

Despite the defeat, Udeze played it down, positing the test game is not enough to judge how the Falcons would perform in Paris.
“We have a tournament ahead of us, the Olympic Games, and we shouldn’t use the friendly to judge them. Let’s give them the benefit of doubt,” Udeze said on Brila.

The Falcons are in the same group with world champions Spain, two-time Olympic silver medal winners Brazil and former World Cup winners Japan.
The nine-time African champions will open their campaign against Brazil, who they lost 3-1 to in the group stage at the Beijing Olympics.

This would be the fourth time the Falcons would feature at the Olympics, after debuting at Sydney 2000.

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Count Me Out Of England Managerial Position – Postecoglou

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou has debunked reports circulating in the media that he wants to be England’s next manager.

Recall that Gareth Southgate stepped down after England lost the Euro 2024 final to Spain on Sunday.

The Tottenham manager has been thrown into a mix of names, including Eddie Howe, Graham Potter, and Pep Guardiola, all of whom are being considered to manage the Three Lions.

However, Postecoglou stated that his focus is on Spurs at the moment.
“I was having a nap on Wednesday afternoon. I have no idea.
“I’m the Tottenham manager and I’m determined to bring success to this club.
“That’s where my focus is totally.”

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