African teams at Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023: Nigeria’s Falcons storm Round of 16 in style

African teams at Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023: Nigeria’s Falcons storm Round of 16 in style


African team are leaving their mark on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, as 32 countries seek to win the biggest prize in women’s football.

For the first time in the history of the tournament, four teams from the continent are competing at the tournament. The mix of teams involves World Cup regulars like Nigeria, as well as debutants like Morocco.

We take a look at how African sides are faring, which have had the best performances at past Women’s World Cup’s, and whether any teams are well-positioned to break records in 2023.

The four African sides that qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup are Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco and Zambia. Nigeria have qualified for every World Cup, and even though they had a difficult group with Australia, Ireland and Olympic champions Canada, the Super Falcons have managed to reach the Round of 16.

They have yet to lose in the tournament with a surprise victory over Australia, coupled with two 0-0 draws against Ireland and Canada. South Africa have qualified for their second tournament in a row, but they have an uphill battle to make it out of Group G with a must-win group finale against Italy scheduled for August 2.

They have played well, only losing to Sweden on a 90th-minute goal, and tying Argentina 2-2 in a match in which the South Africans held a 2-0 lead. Morocco qualified for the tournament for the first time ever, becoming the first side from the Arab world to reach the women’s tournament. The team also featured the first player to wear a hijab during a World Cup match.

The Moroccan side earned its first World Cup victory in only its second match – 1-0 vs South Korea – and they can advance to the Round of 16 with a win against Colombia on the final day of group action on August 3.

Zambia, in its first World Cup, became the first African side from a landlocked country to qualify for either a men’s or women’s FIifa World Cup.

Despite earning their first World Cup victory (3-1 against Costa Rica), they were eliminated in the group stage after finishing third in Group C behind Japan and Spain. Heavy 5-0 losses to both Japan and Spain proved costly.

Has an African nation ever won Women’s World Cup? In the previous eight editions of the tournament, no African side has ever won the Women’s World Cup. Additionally, even when African sides have made the knockout rounds of the tournament, none have been able to win a knockout game at the Women’s World Cup.

Only four countries have won the Women’s World Cup:

USA (1991, 1999, 2015, 2019)

Germany (2003, 2007)

Norway (1995)

Japan (2011)

This means that teams from the Asian, Oceania, African and South American confederations have never won the tournament.

The best-ever Women’s World Cup performance by an African side was seen by Nigeria at the 1999 World Cup, where they reached the quarterfinals.

Despite losing 7-1 to hosts and eventual tournament winners USA in the group stages, they won their other two matches against Denmark and North Korea (both 3-0) to advance to the quarterfinals. They came up against heavyweights Brazil and were involved in a highly exciting encounter that saw Nigeria come back from 3-0 down to take the game to extra-time.

It would ultimately end in heartbreak, though, as Brazil scored a golden goal through Sissi that saw them advance to the semifinals.

African teams have been present at every tournament, with the number of African sides at a given tournament increasing as the competition has expanded.

From just one side in the first two editions (1991 and 1995), this increased to two African teams from 1999, to three teams in 2015 and finally to four teams seen in 2023 thanks to the expansion to a 32-team format. Overall, eight different African countries have qualified for the tournament over the years.

Team     Appearances      Editions Best finish

Cameroon           2             2015, 2019         Round of 16

(2015, 2019)

E. Guinea            1             2011     Group Stage

Ghana                  3             1999, 2003, 2007            Group Stage

Ivory Coast          1             2015     Group Stage

Morocco              1             2023     TBD

Nigeria                9              1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023   Quarterfinals (1999)

South Africa        2             2019, 2023         Group Stage

Zambia               1              2023     Group Stage

As previously mentioned, this World Cup has the highest amount of African nations participating in tournament history.

The four nations that qualified earned the right to do so through winning their quarterfinal matches at the continental championship, the Women’s African Cup of Nations.

There was even a chance that an unprecedented six African sides would have participated in the tournament, with both Cameroon and Senegal qualifying for the Intercontinental playoffs that took place in New Zealand earlier this year.

However, neither of those sides was able to qualify as they lost to Portugal and Haiti, respectively.

The distribution of teams in the World Cup by confederation looks like this:

AFC (Asia): Australia, China, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea

CONCACAF (North and Central America): USA, Canada, Haiti, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama

UEFA (Europe): England, Denmark, Italy, France, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden

CAF (Africa): Nigeria, Morocco, Zambia, South Africa

CONMEBOL (South America): Brazil, Argentina, Colombia

OFC (Oceania): New Zealand

  • The Sporting News
About author

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *