VAR was consulted twice, first to determine a penalty then for it to be retaken – after an infringement by the Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.
The Super Falcons felt hard done by, in fact the entire Nation must have felt robbed especially seeing how dogged a fight the team to put in.
Players drawn to tears, a small melee protesting the Red card to Ngozi Ebere – for a second booking – and the penalty, Thomas Dennerby was visibly shaken from the appalling officiating he witnessed from his technical area.
The Swede, felt Nigerian in the moment and even beyond that the characteristically chatty Coach hardly mustered the modicum of civility to speak after the game.
His words were carefully chosen but no doubt captured the spirit of the game, “All my players are Heroes,” he said.
Heroes indeed for they fought gallantly against a French side built to dismantle and demolish opponents; over a year ago, Dennerby and the bulk of this Super Falcons team felt that wrath in a 8-0 bashing at the MMArena in an international friendly.
On Monday, in their final group game, the African champions rarely saw a prolonged period of dominance on the ball.
Little to talk about attacking play and almost zero shot at the opposition goalie.
But they defended well, held up play and repelled wave after wave of French attack.
It could have easily ended in a goalless result and another point for Nigeria; and what a valuable one it would have been for their quest to reach the round of 16.
But now and like Dennerby himself admits, ” it’s no longer in our hands.”
Nigeria can still progress as one of four second best runners up, if the results elsewhere favor them and it’s not so much of a big IF given the odds.
But then, there’ll probably would have been no better form of justice than to see the Falcons progress to the next round, for only the second time in their world cup history, on account of their performance in Rennes.