It's been 12 years since the Super Falcons last won a match at the FIFA Women's World Cup back at the 1999 tournament in the United States of America when they ran out 2-0 winners over Denmark.
In total, the Super Falcons have only won two games to date at the Women's World Cup - the other victory being a 2-1 win over North Korea on June 20, 1999, a week before the win over the Danes. This is irrespective of the fact that they have competed at every edition of the tournament since the maiden edition in China back in 1991.
But the reigning African champions will need to rediscover their winning touch in Germany if they are to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout rounds for the first time since that memorable 1999 tournament where they were edged out in the quarter finals 4-3 after extra time by Brazil, who were 3-0 up at the end of the game's opening 45 minutes.
And having failed to make it past the first round at their last two World Cup appearances, added to the fact that they have lost more matches than any of the other teams competing at this World Cup (12 from a total of 16 matches), the task ahead looks daunting for the Super Falcons as they find themselves pitted in the same group as the Germans and the Canadians, as well as the French.
The Germans have won the last two editions of the World Cup and are most pundits favourites for the title. The Canadians are ranked among the top five teams in the world, while the French finished the European qualifying rounds with an impressive 53 goals in their kitty.
In addition to that, the French, even though this will only be their second appearance at the World Cup, have played 45 Grade-A games since the end of the last World Cup. The Germans have played 47 games, while the Canadians have played an impressive 60 Grade-A matches.
For their part, the Super Falcons have played just under 30 matches in the four years since the end of the last World Cup in China even though their preparations for this World Cup has been unprecedented in the history of the women's game in Nigeria.
The team, under the guidance of Eucharia Uche, spent close to a month in Austria and played a series of tune-up games with teams from Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia before heading off to Germany midweek.
And it is with that in mind that Uche, a former star of the national team, is hoping for a good outing in Germany.
"We are in good shape for the World Cup. I make bold to say this team has had the best preparation of any Nigerian team at the FIFA Women's World Cup," remarked Uche after her team arrived Germany on Thursday.
She then added: "We look forward to doing Nigeria proud in our games."
The task of doing Nigeria proud gets underway today in the very first game of the tournament which pitches the Super falcons against their French counterparts. If experience alone counts, the Super Falcons should carry the day after all, they have been to every World Cup tournament since the maiden edition back in 1991.
But with the poor state of the game in the country, especially the league which has been without a sponsor for years, the French look set to carry the day.
With over 10 players from European club champions Lyon, the French will be looking to set the tone for the championship with a good result against the Super Falcons.
But surprises abound in opening matches and the Super Falcons will be hoping to take full advantage and prove why they deserve to be taken seriously in Germany.
Not many expected China's 4-1 demolition of Norway in the opening game of the 1991 tournament, or Brazil's shock 1-0 win over a Swedish side regarded back then as one of the best in the world back in 1995, and on home soil.
Little wonder followers of the Nigerian team are hoping for a good start to the team's World Cup campaign.
"We have done a lot to prepare the girls for this tournament, and we believe that they are in good form to compete at that very highest level and bring glory to our nation," said Nigeria Football Federation boss, Aminu Maigari on Friday before heading off to Germany.
He added: "Against France, it will be important that the Falcons take their chances and earn the three points in order to be in good contention for the quarter finals."
With Germany based Cynthia Uwak shockingly left from the team, Nigeria will be banking on Perpetua Nkwocha to provide the much-needed bite and inspiration.
The 35-year-old reigning African Player of the Year looks set to retire at the end of the tournament and will be hoping to go out with a bang in Germany. And with Stella Mbachu, who will be making her fourth appearance at the World Cup, operating from the flanks and supporting the team's young forwards, the French defence, which conceded just two goals during the qualifiers, cannot afford to rest on their oars.
The Nigerian backline cannot equally do likewise, as they will have to be on their toes to ward off the expected threat from the French led by the skilful duo of Camille Abily and Louisa Necib.
And if all else fails, goalkeeper and skipper Precious Dede will hopefully be at her best to keep off the opposition.
The 30-year-old Delta Queens goalkeeper is undoubtedly Africa's best and is often calm between the sticks which rubs off on her team mates and boosts their confidence.
But, despite the experience of having played at two previous World Cup tournaments and three Olympic Games, Dede occasionally loses concentration especially when it comes to dealing with aerial balls, especially crosses in a crowded penalty area.
However, if Dede churns out one of her top notch displays against the French today, then the Super Falcons might just pull off a win.
Not that it will entirely be a surprise if that happens but with games against Germany and Canada awaiting the Falcons after today's game, anything less than a win against the French looks set to confine the Falcons to yet another World Cup first round exit.
Nigeria had a very disappointing World Cup in 2007 and finished with two losses (0-2 to North Korea and 0-1 against USA) and a draw (1-1 against Sweden) with only one goal scored.
Before that, in 2003, the Super Falcons didn't win or draw in any of the group-stage matches and conceded 11 goals without scoring any. But if the Super Falcons get their groove on, there is only one team in Group A that they shouldn't be able to beat and it is not the French or the Canadians.
The Germans are way ahead of the rest of the competition in Group A and last year walloped the Falcons 8-0 in a tune-up game. Expect them to finish top of Group A but equally expect a tough battle for second place from the group's other teams.
For the Super Falcons, that battle begins today.
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