Grenoble, France, June 22 : Nigeria's football team head coach Thomas Dennerby emphasized on Friday that his team's performance went further than the world ranking ahead of their round of 16 match against Germany at the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Nigeria had to wait for the conclusion of the final group match on Thursday to secure their berth in World Cup last 16 as one of four best third-ranked teams in the group."We were extremely happy yesterday. It was a wonderful feeling when we finally knew that we would be playing in the round of 16. I don't think it will have any impact on the game tomorrow. We are still happy," Dennerby told a pre-match press conference.
Dennerby added that despite not knowing potential opponents, the team continued their training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday."The only thing new for us is that we don't have much time to prepare technically for the game. But we have something like a base about all teams, because we could also face Italy. Tonight we will tell them about Germany.
"We've prepared for whatever happens. There is nothing that we can do to change if it's coming on or not, but we have to be prepared for both ways," he said.For him, "definitely Germany is a very organized team, working very hard, playing the game with a high pace."
"I'm still happy that they don't have a top striker like a couple of years ago like Birgit Prinz, who could change the game by her own, but they still have a good forward [Alexandra] Popp," said Dennerby.Asked about whether Nigeria can be listed as a world class team, Dennerby replied, "all teams preparing for the World Cup are world class teams, but of course there are some different levels."
"The Nigerian team is definitely so much better than the ranking. Everybody can see that we are not acting like a team ranked 38th. If you look at the tournament so far, everybody thinks it's fair, considering the performance of the team, that we are one of the teams in the round of 16.
"We can play any team between 10 and 20, and win the game. We also play a close game with 10 best teams," he noted.